Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dangers of synthetic drugs

Last week’s multi-county synthetic drug ring raid brings to light a growing concern in the area. The synthetic marijuana product ‘K2’ was briefly in the news in 2010 when state legislators passed laws banning sales of the product. Until that time it had been commonly available in many convenience stores around the state.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic cannabinoids (which includes K2) are “sold under many names, including K2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and others — and labeled ‘not for human consumption’ — these products contain dried, shredded plant material and chemical additives that are responsible for their psychoactive (mind-altering) effects.”

Synthetic Cannabinoids are popular among young people; of the illicit drugs most used by high-school seniors, they are second only to marijuana.

K2 is just one synthetic drug that has became widespread over the last decade.
The two predominant synthetic drugs are:
•Synthetic cannabinoids—often marketed as synthetic marijuana under names such as “K2” and “Spice,” are a mixture of plant matter in addition to chemical grade synthetic cannabinoids.  Synthetic cannabinoid users experience severe agitation and anxiety, racing heartbeat and high blood pressure, intense hallucinations, and psychotic episodes.  Overdose deaths have occurred as a result of smoking synthetic cannabinoids.
•Synthetic cathinones—commonly sold as “bath salts,” are drugs that cause powerful reactions and often violent behavior.  Some users have experienced nausea, vomiting, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, suicidal thoughts, seizures, chest pains, and increased blood pressure and heart rate.  Synthetic cathinones have resulted in a number of overdose deaths.

“LSD, PCP and Ecstasy (MDMA) were the earlier synthetic drugs and amphetamine and methamphetamine were even earlier than that,” says the Narconon International website. “Now, international chemists seem to have discovered this new market and are distributing one new destructive chemical after another into the illicit drug market. Some of them manage to stay one step ahead of the law by shifting the formula of a particular drug they are selling, as soon as it has become illegal. They just move a few molecules and they have a new chemical that may not be illegal.”
Side effects of synthetic drug use include:
•psychotic behavior
•extreme anxiety
•aggressive behavior that has resulted in assault, murder and suicide
• rapid heart rate
•increased blood pressure
•heart attacks
• vomiting
•overheating that causes a person to tear off his clothes
•self-destructive behavior like bashing one’s body or head against walls
•heart palpitations
•inability to speak

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