Health Concerns About Synthetic Drugs and their Availability

According to a recent survey of Lake of the Woods adult community members, 3 out of 4 adults agreed that they have a responsibility for the health and well-being of the youth in their community.  The survey also indicates these same adults show great concern for the harm tobacco, alcohol and other drugs can have on area youth.  The concern over Synthetic Drugs was not measured specifically in the survey; however with increased online and in-store availability, it is important to be aware of the potential harm Synthetic Drugs can have.   In some cases, Synthetic Drugs can be even more harmful than alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.Why should we be concerned?People can unknowingly walk into some tobacco shops in Minnesota and purchase items that are not regulated for human consumption by the FDA.   These items are often fully intended for use as synthetic drugs (for smoking or ingesting).  There are no quality controls in place that will ensure the same dosage in each package.  They may be absent of active ingredient or in a lethal range within the same brand and packaging.   Because they are labeled “not for human consumption”, there is no government oversight of the manufacturing process to ensure that sanitary conditions exist in the place of production either.

The following is a portion of the head shop definition from Wikipedia:  A head shop is a retail outlet specializing in drug paraphernalia used for consumption of cannabis, other recreational drugs, legal highs, legal party powders and New Age herbs, roach clips, rolling papers, scales, blacklight responsive posters, incense, whipped cream chargers (which contain nitrous oxide) and salvia divinorum (illegal in some countries including the U.S.) and products such as Whizzinator, claiming to give false negative results for drug urinalyses tests.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Synthetic marijuana (often known as “K2” or “Spice”) and bath salts are products that are often sold in legal retail outlets as “herbal incense” and “plant food”, and they are labeled “not for human consumption” to mask their intended purposes and avoid FDA oversight of the manufacturing process.

The effects of synthetic marijuana include: agitation, extreme nervousness, nausea, vomiting, fast racing heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, tremors and seizures, hallucinations and dilated pupils.  It is similar to the effects of cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine.  Bath salts are associated with increased heart rates and blood pressure, extreme paranoia, hallucinations and violent behavior.  These effects may cause users to harm themselves and others, including friends or family members.

 According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a number of synthetic marijuana and bath salt products appear to originate overseas from places like China and India.  They are manufactured in the absence of quality controls and without government regulatory oversight

In July, Minnesota joined a growing number of states outlawing fake pot, designer “bath salts” and other synthetic drugs.  This ban includes drugs with innocent names such as bath salts, and plant food as well as hallucinogenic drugs and fake pot.  Despite the ban, drug makers are simply changing the formulas and adding new ones to the market every day-and saying that they are legal. 

Synthetic cannabinoids in herbal incense were first detected in the U.S. in November 2008.  According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 2,906 calls relating to human exposure to synthetic marijuana were received in 2010.  The number of calls doubled to 6,959, in 2011, and the trend is continuing to escalate.  A Survey done by Monitoring the Future, in 2011, found that “spice” or “K2” is the second most commonly used illicit drug among high school seniors in the U.S. 

Yes, we have reason to be concerned.  Many cities across Minnesota and the rest of the country are struggling to rid their cities of such businesses and products.  The state and federal government are beginning to take steps to address the issue, but this all takes time and the youth of our county could be experimenting, right now. 

The Lake of the Woods County Prevention Coalition encourages community members to have conversations with children about the harms and uncertainties of synthetic drugsOur strong sense of concern for youth well-being in our community brings us together in our effort to address this growing issue. Parents and health care professionals are some of the most influential people with whom young people interact.  Be concerned and proactive, because…WE CARE! 

If anyone is interested in more information on Synthetic Drugs or how to talk to teens about the harms of Synthetic Drugs, please contact Tammie Doebler or Joyce Washburn at the Lake of the Woods County  Prevention Coalition (LWPC) office at the school, 218-634-2510, ext. 1100.  LWPC is funded by a grant from the MN Department of Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse division.

Information taken from:

 http:www.white the news_detail.cfm?id=333918

2012 Positive Community Norms Community Survey of 247 randomly selected adults aged 21 and older in Lake of the Woods County.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt