A synthetic drug often called “Spice,” “K2,” or “Synthetic Marijuana” is becoming more common among high school students. This drug contains a series of legal chemicals, and is sold as potpourri or incense in local gas stations, tobacco shops, and convenience stores.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, “Spice abusers who have been taken to Poison Control Centers report symptoms that include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion, and hallucinations. Spice can also raise blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart (myocardial ischemia), and in a few cases it has been associated with heart attacks. Regular users may experience withdrawal and addiction symptoms.” Several reports of fatalities have also been released.
Contrary to common belief, “Spice” does not mimic the high of marijuana and does not contain the chemical THC. Printed on the packaging are bold words that read, “Not for human consumption.”
This drug cannot be tracked in drug tests so it is very appealing to teenagers. According to Student Service Officer Jones, this drug is a greater threat to teenagers than marijuana. This is because they don’t know what they are smoking. Officer Jones made it clear that he is not condoning the use of any drug, but spice is especially dangerous because of its unidentified ingredients.
In response to the local rise in use, the school and its faculty are trying to raise awareness about the drug. One way to do this was by strengthening the senior class’s drug unit. This year, the drug unit was presented by Officer Jones to some senior English classes. Officer Jones explained that giving the presentation may have been beneficial “because it’s not the same as a teacher giving you the same information that you hear every year.”
“The drug unit was more serious this year because it was coming from a police officer and not just a teacher,” said senior Tina Hall.
Linganore English teacher, Mrs. Samantha Servey, has become an advocate against the sale and use of spice. Servey signed a petition to outlaw the sale of spice in Thermount. The petition is part of Change.org. Servey is urging people to become more active by contacting their local mayor.