“Spice” enters the teen drug scene

February 11, 2011

‘Spice’ enters the drug scene


If you are unfamiliar with “Spice,” a synthetic marijuana, it is about time you are made aware of its dangers.  Spice use is most likely making inroads with students in your own school district, as it gains in popularity among teens.


Spice made its entry into the U.S. from Europe in 2008 when a public high school in the north shore suburbs of Chicago reported the first Illinois school drug overdose involving spice. The student related how he had purchased the drug over the Internet and had smoked it just before the start of the school day.


Spice is a mixture of herbs and spices that typically is sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.  Spice, also known as K2, mimics the effects of marijuana and can be purchased in head shops, tobacco shops, various retail outlets and over the Internet as a chemically-laced incense product.


Most troubling is that hospital urine tests do not detect the use of the drug.  Fifteen states have already acted to control the chemicals used to make the synthetic marijuana.  Illinois is among them.  House Bill 4578, banning all synthetic cannabinoids, was signed into law on July 27, 2011 and became effective on January 1st of this year.


Teens are more venerable to the ill effects of synthetic marijuana, as the adolescent brain differs from that of an adult.  The pre-frontal cortex is the the last area of the brain to develop.  This is the part that modulates executive function.


Just as spice has been determined to be a dangerous drug by Illinois legislators, let your elected House member know that marijuana likewise should not be legalized for any purpose.  There is no doubt that Representative Louis Lang (D-16) will sponsor another bill in the House for medical marijuana when he feels enough votes are there to pass the bill.


Common sense would indicate that increasing the availability of marijuana will only lead to more use and more dependency and will, in turn, affect all communities both monetarily and socially — and most of all the lives of our children!


I will firmly tell my elected House member, Karen May (D-28), to vote “no.   May you likewise inform your elected Illinois representative.


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