Spice: A Legal But Incredibly Dangerous Drug for Teens

They’re known as designer drugs. They are drugs that are manufactured to create a certain high. However, they include all sorts of ingredients, including those most people would never ingest, but mixed with other substances produce a certain effect.

 

Sadly, when Spice first became available to the public in the early 2000s, it was thought that they achieved an effect through a mixture of natural herbs. However, laboratory analysis performed in 2008 showed that this is not the case. Spice actually contains synthetic cannabinoids, which are used in an attempt to avoid the laws that make marijuana illegal. The use of synthetic cannabinoids instead of natural herbs makes Spice a designer drug, meaning one that is unnaturally produced. Furthermore, designer drugs are continually changing in order to stay legal. The makers of designer drugs will continue to make alterations to the drug’s ingredients in order to stay one step ahead of the law.

 

Yet, the legality of this drug might create confusion in teens. Just because it is legal does not mean that it can’t cause serious harm. In fact, the dangers of spice are those of any drug: drop in grades, impairment at home or school, behavioral concerns, relationship problems with friends and family, among others. In fact, although Spice is legal, many local law enforcement agencies now have the ability to drug test for spice just as they can for alcohol and other illicit drugs.

 

Spice is considered to be a Schedule I drug, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), along with heroin, marijuana, and LSD. Although it might lead to feelings of euphoria, it can also cause vomiting, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, seizures, and hallucinations. The synthetic version of THC (the compound in marijuana that creates euphoria in its users) was originally created with the intent to use it for medical purposes. However, since then, others have abused the synthetic version, just as they would marijuana. Spice is not the only way to refer to this type of synthetic drug.  It has also been sold K2 and under various brand names, online, in head shops, and at some gas stations.

 

Teen spice abuse is relatively high. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, approximately, 11% of high school seniors reported using Spice in the last year. Spice, also known as K2, has similar effects on its users as marijuana. Although it might lead to a family of euphoria, it can also cause vomiting, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, seizures, and hallucinations. The synthetic version of THC (the compound in marijuana that creates euphoria in its users) was originally created with the intent to use it for medical purposes. However, since then, others have abused the synthetic version, just as they would marijuana.

 

Another synthetic drug is known as “Bath Salts”. is another recent trend among teens that use drugs.  Bath Salts are a drug, which mimic the effects of cocaine with even more damaging results. For instance, Bath Salts affect the brain’s ability to process particular neurotransmitters effectively, resulting in an excessive amount of neurotransmitters, such as Dopamine and Norepinephrine. Although too much of these two neurotransmitters create the feeling of euphoria, it also leads to damaging effects such as rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, damage to the blood vessels, heart attack, heart failure, and a stroke. Other stimulants, such as cocaine, typically wear off relatively quickly; however the effect of Bath Salts can last up to four hours. Another name for designer drugs, aside from “Bath Salts” is “Plant Food”.

 

The use of these drugs isn’t discussed regularly in the media, in school, or at home. However, they are being abused by teens, leading to severe consequences including death. Communicating with your child about these drugs and teen drug abuse is worth any discomfort that might arise when talking about this. Having the conversation is essential. It could save your child’s life.

 

 

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