Synthetic Marijuana Use and Similar Drugs Keep Lawmakers Scrambling to Protect Young Drug Users

It’s a pattern we might as well get used to. Those in the business of pushing intoxicating, illicit drugs on the population are trying to keep one step ahead of the law by selling compounds that are not quite illegal. Yet, anyway.

This has been happening for awhile with club drugs. New drugs just a few molecules away from earlier (and illegal) ones manage to skirt the law just until legislators can catch up and outlaw the new substance. In some cases, the drugs don’t even get a name, they are just known by a chemical designation as they are banned from sales and possession.

In the cases of Spice, or “synthetic marijuana,” the actual drug component is one of a number of similar chemicals that were only known, for a time, by designations like JWH-015, JWH-018 or HU-210. Then these chemicals began to be packaged with spice and herb mixtures in small foil or plastic envelopes and labeled Spice, K2, Yucatan Fire or other names. To mislead anyone who was not familiar with its real use, the packages were identified as incense. When these mixtures were smoked, they sometimes caused hallucinations, injuries and death. One doctor reported that the chemical mixtures used were never the same twice.

According to one poison control center, use of Spice can cause “agitation (extreme nervousness), a fast heartbeat, increased blood pressure, tremors (shaking), vomiting, hallucinations and seizures.”

In Minnesota, one young man accidentally killed himself as he played with a pistol while high on this new drug and another died from an overdose of a similar chemical. The head of the Minnesota Poison Control Center noted that these drugs can cause a breakdown of organs or muscles that can be fatal.

Unfortunately, because of the way law were written, law enforcement could not go after manufacturers and sellers of this drug for a long time after its problems were noticed. It simply was not illegal.

What happens then is that state by state, legislatures will play catch up and ban that specific drug. In this case, the DEA used its powers to create an emergency ban lasting for one year that would give everyone a chance to act. That ban expires in March 2012 but may be extended another six months if needed.

While Laws and Bans are Important, They Are Obviously Not the Entire Solution

It is were possible to wave a magic wand and eliminate all desire for drugs in this country, then these urgent actions would not be needed. But that is not the situation in America. This is still a country where half the high school seniors have abused a drug, 70% have used alcohol and more than one in five have abused a prescription drug, all before they graduate. It’s also a country where one in five eighth graders have also abused an illicit drug.

Without accurate drug education that enables these young people to make the decision to be drug-free, it is going to be impossible to legislate, arrest or seize ourselves out of the current situation of drug use and addiction that is present. Narconon Arrowhead, a premier drug and alcohol rehabilitation program located in Southeast Oklahoma, has been offering both effective drug education and drug rehabilitation services for more than a decade.

Narconon Arrowhead staff travel to schools, clubs and civic groups throughout Oklahoma and neighboring states to give people information they can use to make good decisions. Corporations also bring in Narconon staff to educate their staff and so reduce the incidence of drug use in their companies.

Those who have become addicted to drugs or alcohol come from all over the country to find recovery and sobriety at Narconon Arrowhead. The drug rehab program at Narconon Arrowhead is a long-term, residential program that employs no drugs as part of its treatment. In an eight-phase program encompassing counseling, life skills training and a thorough detoxification phase, those who were addicted learn to build a new life to replace the one that was destroyed by addiction.

As one person after he graduated from this rehab program, “I found that I learned how to live a drug-free life myself, not from someone else telling me how to do it.” He found that all the steps helping him face the reasons he ended up becoming addicted and learning how a drug-free life is really lived made all the difference.

If you need to find help for someone who is struggling with addiction, don’t delay but call today. Ask for an intake counselor at 1-800-468-6933 today.


Narconon also offers drug prevention and education lectures to schools, businesses and church groups around the country. For more information on Narconon schools call 800-468-6933.

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