08/16/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan
Middletown, IN— An Indiana mother of two died in July after smoking Spice, commonly regarded as synthetic marijuana. While a label reading, “Not for human consumption,” is affixed to all packages of Spice, emergency calls related to its use have risen from 13 in 2009 to over 567 this year, according to a August 4, 2010 Fox59 report and a previous report titled, “Several States Taking Action to Outlaw Synthetic Marijuana, Known as K2 or Spice.”
The synthetic marijuana has been sold as incense under names including Spice, K2 and Mr. Smiley. It contains synthetic cannabinoids, which emulate the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s most active ingredient.
Nonetheless, the cannabis substitute remains unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It also appears more people experimented with the dangerous substance, based on the incentive that it is legal and will not show up on drug tests.
Lilly Helsley, a 28-year-old Middletown woman, reportedly died after smoking Spice last month. According to Helsley’s godson Doug Hogan, 16, “You can get it really easily… It’s pretty much like marijuana. It can be sold to anybody at any price at any time.”
Reports indicated at least eight people in Marion County, Indiana were hospitalized after smoking the synthetic pot. Two deaths in the state were also apparently linked to the lethal incense.
“You can’t detect it. It’s more powerful than marijuana. People who smoke it say it really does mess you up. It causes a person to become extremely high. The withdrawals are horrible. Clients get very angry and agitated,” Brendan Bickley, clinical director of a Southern California addiction treatment center, said.
Another horrific case involved 18-year-old David Rozga, of Iowa. He and some friends apparently experimented with K2 in June. However, Rozga apparently began “freaking out,” declaring he was “going to hell” after smoking the substance. Rozga eventually went home and tragically shot himself in the head.
Bickley added, “Whatever is being done is not being done fast enough… It’s the perfect drug. It’s legal. It’s undetectable. It’s odorless. It’s cheap.”
Eight states have banned the sale and use of the Spice thus far. Several other states are also working towards establishing similar legislation.
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