Unfortunately some teens do experiment with drugs and alcohol during their adolescence.  Instead of denying the fact that teens experiment with drugs and alcohol, it is important to become educated in regards to these current trends.

Today is the second installment of my three part blog series in which I discuss trends in drug and alcohol use, prevalent among the teen population.  I will also provide advice for discussing these serious issues with teens.

What is Spice?

In the mid 1990’s, John W. Huffman, a chemist at Clemson University, created synthetic marijuana in conjunction with his research surrounding the effects of marijuana on the brain’s receptors.  Also known as K2, JWH-018, or Spice Gold, Huffman’s creation affects the brain in a similar manner to its illegal cousin, marijuana, producing a very similar high.

Unlike marijuana, spice does not contain any illegal substances.  Marketed as potpourri or incense and with an appearance similar to dried herbs, spice is sold in small vials or packets with the words ‘not for human consumption’ inscribed in small print.  Despite the disclaimer on the label, teens are buying spice on the internet, at health stores, in smoke shops, and even in convenience stores for about $30 – $40 per three grams.

Why are Teens Attracted to Spice?

Teens are attracted to spice because it’s legal and easy to purchase.  Teens may feel that they can easily purchase spice, pass a drug test, get a high, and that they have done nothing wrong legally.

What are the Dangers?

Huffman indicated to Live Science that when compared to the main ingredient in marijuana (THC), the synthetic marijuana is about 10 times more active.  Spice’s deadly side effects may include the following: seizures, elevated heart rate, loss of consciousness, severe agitation, pale skin, and vomiting and can ultimately damage the central nervous system leading to respiratory failure and even death.

Although teens may think that because spice is legal (in some states) that it is safe.  However, the side effects experienced by those who smoke spice are similar to those who overdose on street drugs.  The long term effects of spice usage are unknown.

Is there any action being taken against Spice?

According to Fox news, Kansas was the first state to ban the substance and Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Alabama have followed suit.  Mississippi, Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, North Dakota, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, and Utah are also considering passing similar laws due to increases in reported fatalities attributed to smoking spice.  Spice is illegal in many countries.

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