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COLUMN: Synthetic drugs: real danger

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APRIL FINNEY
GUEST COLUMNIST

It’s time we get the message out to young people as well as their parents about the synthetic marijuana on the market now. This stuff is very dangerous to everyone, as it clearly states “not for human consumption” on the packages.
I don’t know if many parents even know about this widespread epidemic which is going on right around us. Everyone needs to Google synthetic marijuana or spices and look at this stuff that is still being sold legally under various names: K2, Black Mamba, Wicked X, K3, Mr. Smiley and others. This stuff is sold at tobacco shops and gas stations as incense, tea and herbs. Though there are laws banning some items, the names and ingredients change and many are still considered legal. However, legal does not mean that they are safe.
However, unlike the real thing, the synthetics can cause many health problems that can be short term, long term and deadly. Some of the side effects that have been experienced are trouble breathing, heart palpitations, heart attacks, hallucinations, vomiting and seizures. There have also been reported cases of suicide after having hallucinations from this stuff.
So many young people, as well as adults, who may be in trouble and have to take drug tests or are scared of drug tests at work are smoking this stuff because it doesn’t show on standard drug screens.
In most places this requires a special test which can be costly. There have been people brought to hospitals over using this stuff and the effects that they have had were not good. Some of these effects have lasted with people for over a week at a time.
I read on the Internet that New Jersey had banned this stuff because of the increase in the reports to poison control centers because of it. They say there is a 700 percent spike in reporting to New Jersey’s poison control center.
Some of this synthetic stuff is made by spraying acetone – nail polish remover – or ethanol onto the dried herbs. There has even been one of these which contained benzodiazepine, a prescription not even approved for use here in the U.S. The fact that it’s showing up in this material is alarming.
When the people are buying this they have no idea what ingredients are really in that certain package. It is a deadly epidemic which is affecting many people.
My brother has a group on Facebook called “Not for human consumption” and tells his story and what has happened to him as a result of using this item.
Another good Facebook page is titled “Stop the making of synthetic drugs.”
He has many health problems now as a result of using this stuff and he is hoping people will read about it and not do this as it is not worth it.
The fact that it says “not for human consumption” says it all but people still consume it. Plus it is sold at smoke shops where people can easily get their hands on it. Everyone needs to look at that group and realize that this is not a joke.
Everyone needs to step up and take a stand. This does not need to be sold here in our town or anyone else’s for that matter.
There needs to be a ban on this stuff so that so many people will quit getting hurt. I feel that we already have enough problems when it comes to our children being exposed to drugs which are illegal. So I think that it is time to quit making this stuff legal where people can get their hands on it.
People also need to go on Youtube and look for synthetic marijuana videos as well as bath salt videos. It will boggle your mind the things that you see and the effects of all this stuff which is considered legal.
This stuff is sold in the area. Why are we promoting people doing this and being seriously hurt or even dying from this? Check out the Facebook groups. The information and the videos will open your eyes, it is really scary.

April Finney
Hawesville, Ky.