Maybe you’ve heard it in the news recently, but there’s been a rash of drug overdoses and emergency responses due to the use of K2, or synthetic marijuana.
But calling this drug “synthetic marijuana” is deceiving as it has little in common with natural marijuana. Synthetic marijuana can be up to 100 times more potent than natural marijuana, which is why so many users end up in the hospital or worse. Spice or K2 – it has other names as well – is generally marketed as incense, which can be smoked as a recreational or street drug. Because the drugs are crudely produced, it is a difficult task to know exactly what chemicals are used. Dosages of the actual chemical substance vary greatly in any given package.
K2 first came onto the street drug scene in London in 2004 and became prevalent in the U.S. by 2008. It was easy to find and cheap to buy. Labeled as synthetic marijuana users believed that they were basically smoking pot.
Use of this drug is significantly widespread – from adults to kids, low income and wealthy neighborhoods. Just consider the August party in Plano in a high-income neighborhood, which resulted in six individuals – teens and young adults – being hospitalized after overdosing on synthetic drugs, such as K2.
So what can you do to protect your child from synthetic drugs? GLF editorial advisory board member and Executive Director of the Jim Utley Foundation, Rebecca Baker, says that the best thing parents can do to protect their children is to be informed and communicate. Parents should talk to their kids about these dangerous and unpredictable drugs…what they are called, what they look like, how they are typically packaged, etc. She explains that many times a drug looks exciting and sounds fun, with names like “Cloud Nine” or “Maui Wowie”. “Holiday”, which is a form of methamphetamine, sounds harmless enough until they discover – or maybe they don’t – that it is light green colored because it is made with Drano.
“A child who regularly engages in conversations about the dangers of drugs with a parent is 42% less likely to try street drugs,” says Rebecca. “If you are looking for guidance on how to approach and engage your child about the topic of street drugs, visit donteventryit.org for age appropriate conversations.”
Here are a few other articles from around Texas about K2 and other synthetic drugs:
More Than 50 Treated After Taking Suspected K2 in Austin
K2 Epidemic on Downtown Dallas Streets
USA Today: More Teens Using Synthetic Drugs