As a society, we are becoming more tolerable of drugs. Currently, there are 18 states that have legalized marijuana for medical uses, and 11 more are pending. Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and more states may be following in suit. These actions have their supporters and opponents, but as adults, we know where we stand. However, young impressionable teens do not. When they see that our country is becoming more accepting of drugs like marijuana, they justify experimenting with the drug and feeling validated in doing so.
The Growth of Spice Addiction
What is more concerning is the new and popular synthetic drugs on the market, including the dangerous K2 or Spice. This drug is a synthetic cannabinoid that mimics the effects of marijuana. The drug has been abused for several decades, but it hasn’t been until the last 5 or 6 years that this substance has grown in popularity, thus receiving widespread attention from the media, law officials and addiction treatment centers. The drug was legal up until July 2012 when it was banned on a federal level. This has afforded law enforcement the ability to crack down on Spice dealers and users.
Before it was made illegal, Spice was sold in head shops and convenience stores in small glass jars or foil packets. They were marked with names like Spice Gold or Spice Diamond. Basically, these small packets and jars were sold as potpourris or incense so that they were made “legal” to buyers. As a further disguise, the packets were labeled with "not for human consumption." Although sellers may have thought they had law enforcement fooled, these officials worked toward a federal ban, and they finally got it in 2012.
What is Spice?
Spice may look like marijuana, but it’s not. It doesn’t contain THC like marijuana does, but the two do look similar. Spice is a dried plant substance, but it’s mixed with a variety of chemicals that cause the effects. These chemicals can be anything that illegal street chemists mix up, so you never know just what you’re getting inside a dose of Spice. That’s what makes Spice and other synthetic drugs so powerful, so risky. Spice can be toxic, and we’re starting to see the many outcomes that abusers of this drug are facing.
A Tough Addiction to Fight
At The River Source, we are seeing more patients than ever before being admitted for synthetic drug abuse. Many have justified their addiction because the substance was legal at the time, easy to purchase and sold at a convenience shop. To an impressionable teen or young person, all of these factors add up to one thing: it’s okay to take the drug. Now, we must work with these patients to get them off Spice. It just so happens, this is one of the hardest habits to kick.
Still, the patients that are here are some of the lucky ones. Spice is known for creating hallucinations, seizures, violent behavior, chest pain, paranoia, difficulty breathing, an accelerated heart rate and high blood pressure. In 2012, more than 4,000 calls were made to the Poison Control Center, and over 2,000 military personnel were discharged due to Spice abuse. This is one drug that affects young people and the military.
Furthermore, it’s also believed that Spice is stored in the body for long periods of time. Where other drugs are in and out, Spice stays in the body, and this can build up over time, causing more reactions. This is perhaps what makes Spice a highly addictive drug that is difficult to overcome.
More Education Needed on the Dangers of Spice
What The River Source hopes to do is spread more information regarding Spice abuse. We believe that many young people are unaware of the dangers of this drug and regard it as being a safer alternative to traditional marijuana. Unfortunately, Spice is loaded with chemicals, and it’s like playing with fire every time you take it. If more people knew about these dangers, we would hope that it would deter them from ever touching Spice in the first place.
If you or someone you love is addicted to Spice or another synthetic drug, don’t think that you need to fight this battle alone. Drug addiction is a serious disease, but it can be treated. At The River Source, we have a strong treatment program in place that incorporates naturopathic healing, dry sauna detox and meditation. Since Spice can cause long-lasting effects such as severe headaches, seizures and coma, it’s important to treat this drug addiction seriously. Call The River Source today at 866-294-9331.