Attention All Readers – You Must Know


All yellow Porsche 997 Turbo

First i would like to thank each and every reader that has made our blog one of the largest if not the largest for herbal incense and bath salt reviews and news. I have had so many emails these past 2 months asking me if you can buy herbal incense products from me. I just dont have time to email every request back that i get and i never want a reader to think that we are not interacting with you.

Here is the facts, we do not in any way shape or form sell herbal incense products. We are simply a resource for information in the herbal incense spice world. We enjoy giving readers information about the herbal incense spice busts and the incense industy reviews on herbal products. I know that the DEA and law enforcement has cracked down hard on several business across the USA over the past 2 months and now herbal incense is much harder to find.

I know this because everyday i get all the news and busts from our large database of resources and news streams. But i want to make it very clear we are only a resource for learning everything there is to know about herbal incense and news. We do not sell, stock, or tell clients where to buy herbal products or bath salts. If a client sends us a sample of there herbal incense products and its a legal product, we will review that product and write a post to edcuate the public on what we feel about that product. Keep in mind everyone has a different opion about herbal products and everything in life.

Here is an example, i have a freind of mine that bought a brand new porsche and its an amazing car. But that car is bright yellow and to me its screams UGLY. Now everyone else might just love yellow porsches, but i cant stand yellow cars. Now if i was to write a review about that bright yellow car i would say what a nice ride but bad choice in the cars color. Lets say i posted a pic it here

Now how many of you think this yellow porsche 997 turbo is amazing? Well when i look at it i just see a yellow BEE.

So my point is that everyone does not agree on everything. Many times when i post about a herbal incense i have tried i do my best to insure that i let people know just how strong there herbal spice is. Well to me – a daily smoker, its not as strong as someone that might only smoke once a month. Thats why i do my best to be honest so that my readers know what there getting before they get it. But thats only my opion. If i here of any great websites selling wholesale herbal incense i will make a post and update you and try to do a mass email on all the requests that i get for it.

But honstly i dont like to tell people where to buy any products, just give you a review of what i tried what my personal opion is of that product and where i got it from.
Hope this helps and as always thanks for all the support from our readers. It really is awesome. We have over 300,000 visits per week and thats truly amazing!

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Pinellas officials considering banning bath salts and some incenses


In their latest salvo in the on-going struggle against synthetic marijuana, Pinellas County officials are seeking to ban the sale of bath salts and certain herbal incense products.

The proposed ordinance is an attempt to close the loophole created when Florida banned more than 90 chemicals used in synthetic marijuana. County officials said that by the time those products were off the shelves, drugmakers had already adapted by concocting new, legal cocktails that are as dangerous as their predecessors.

“What we want to do is make sure that we took the opportunity to close those gaps to ensure those things don’t come growing back,” said Tim Burns, the county’s director of Justice and Consumer Services.

In addition to banning synthetic marijuana, bath salts and kratom — a lesser-known substance that comes from a tropical plant — the ordinance would establish a five-person committee responsible for reviewing new products and possibly banning those as well.

Today, the Pinellas County Board of Commissioners will vote on whether to hold a public hearing on the proposed regulations.

Leo Calzadilla, who owns three tobacco shops in Pinellas County and is planning to open a fourth, said he would protest the ordinance. When state law banned a variety of products, he changed what he sold, he said. But the race to pass new ordinances and outfox manufacturers seems pointless to him, as well as bad for business.

“Herbal incense is sold as herbal incense,” he said. “That’s what it’s intended for. … What people do with it is their prerogative.”

Many of the synthetic marijuana products are labeled “not for consumption,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, adding that this was “intellectually dishonest.”

Manufacturers know that teenagers buy their products intending to smoke or ingest them, he said. The drugs can cause extreme euphoria, as well as hallucinations and seizures. And there have been several high-profile instances in which teenagers died or were injured while under the influence of those substances.

Gualtieri said he is distributing letters to store owners, asking them to voluntarily drop the synthetic drugs from their inventories.

Randy Heine, owner of Rockin Cards & Gifts, a tobacco shop in Pinellas Park, said he would not object to banning synthetic marijuana, though this should be done at a state level, he said. But kratom is another matter.

Heine sells kratom leaves for smoking, kratom powder for making tea, and kratomite, a liquid concoction he described as a “relaxer.”

“I’ve been selling it steadily for 30 years without a problem, zero, nada, nothing,” he said. “There’s minimal reports of problems, compared to coffee, aspirin, cigarettes, and nobody has died of this; it’s just hysteria.”

“I’ve got to confess I don’t even know what it is,” Gualtieri said. “It’s not on my radar.”

But Burns maintained that kratom is an emerging product, one that might not be well-known to law enforcement officials now, but is poised to replace the synthetic drugs the county is hoping to banish.

The county’s proposed ordinance cites Thailand’s decision to outlaw kratom, as well as the substance’s inclusion on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of drugs and chemicals of concern as reason for banning it in Pinellas.

County officials also have proposed new regulations that would require stores selling glass pipes and bongs to post large warning signs on the front of their buildings.

Local police ‘bracing’ for bath salts in region


WEST BRIDGEWATER —
bathsalts.jpg
AP Photo/The Patriot-News, Chris Knight

Bath salts, in this case synthetic cocaine, are part of a new and highly dangerous generation of drugs that have begun to make an appearance locally.

If East Bridgewater Detective Michael Jenkins catches a suspect in town with the dangerous synthetic drug known as “bath salts,” he can’t criminally charge the person.

Jenkins said his only recourse is to cite the suspect with a misdemeanor under Massachusetts public health law, and issue a fine of $50 to $100.

This is despite a federal law signed by President Barack Obama on July 9 that outlaws synthetic drugs, including some chemicals found in bath salts.

“Our hands are kind of tied,” Jenkins said Monday. “Even though there’s a federal ban, state and local authorities have no jurisdiction over federal law. We’re not federal law enforcement officers.”

State lawmakers are hoping to change that.

For several months, lawmakers including state Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy, and state Rep. George Ross, R-Attleboro, have been pushing for a state ban of bath salts. Keenan said he wants to make bath salts illegal in Massachusetts to avoid any ambiguities that may arise from different interpretations of the federal law.

“We need the same course of action here at the state level, that it’s made clear that in Massachusetts these substances are banned, that they’re not on the shelves,” Keenan said.

The ban was tacked on to another Senate bill co-authored by Keenan to monitor prescriptions for opiate painkillers. Ross first sponsored the bill to make bath salts a controlled substance after several constituents approached him.

Ross and Keenan are among state lawmakers who hope the bill passes before the end of the legislative session tonight.

“It’s very important,” Ross said. “I had a lot of people backing me up on it, law enforcement, health officials, parents of kids who were addicted.”

Bath salts, which are synthetic psychoactive drugs, have grown tremendously in popularity in recent years, sold under names such as “Spice” or “Vanilla Sky” in head shops, smoke shops and convenience stores.

On Thursday, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration announced it had seized more than $36 million in cash and arrested 91 people in a nationwide crackdown on synthetic drugs including bath salts and fake marijuana. Five million packets of synthetic drugs were seized.

Jenkins said that without a state ban “it is almost impossible” to enforce the new federal law in Massachusetts, unless it’s a collaborative effort with federal authorities on larger drug cases.

And local police expect to see more of it.

“We’re kind of bracing ourselves for it. It’s almost like the calm before the storm,” said West Bridgewater police Sgt. Tim Nixon, also a member of the WEB Major Crimes and Drug Task Force.

The drugs are considered so dangerous that in December, Abington police charged a local man with attempted manslaughter for selling them.

Jenkins, of East Bridgewater police, also said the federal law is a good start, but it “will not dramatically curb use of bath salts.”

“These drugs are constantly changing and the manufacturers will make a small chemical alteration to their formulas and they won’t fall under the law,” Jenkins said.

Bath salt incident draws police to Taunton Burger King


Taunton —

Police say an incident over the weekend at a local fast food restaurant illustrates the growing menace of so-called bath salts.

The synthetic designer drug, when smoked, snorted or injected, provides a cocaine or amphetamine-like intoxication that can cause hallucinations and paranoia.

Previously popular in Europe, the drug is sometimes sold domestically “under the counter” by unscrupulous convenience store or gas station owners, according to law enforcement authorities.
Taunton police at 9:45 p.m. Sunday responded to the Burger King at 294 Winthrop St. for a report of a distraught individual who was acting irrationally.

Employees and startled customers described how a man ran inside dripping of mud and water and screaming that someone was trying to kill him.

Bystanders allegedly told cops the man — later identified as 31-year-old Eric Conklin of 28 North Walker St. — then began stripping off his clothes, ran into the ladies room and locked himself in.

When an officer knocked on the bathroom door, the unclothed Conklin allegedly opened up and said, “Thank God you’re here.”

Police say during the past few weeks they’ve had numerous run-ins with Conklin, who allegedly has admitted using drugs known on the street as bath salts.

Each time, according to cops, Conklin has been highly agitated, sweating profusely, talking irrationally and claiming that someone is out to get him.

Conklin Sunday night was charged with disturbing the peace. The police report also notes that if he doesn’t get professional counseling and treatment chances are he’s likely to hurt himself or other people.

In May, a 31-year-old Miami man was shot to death after police said he chewed off chunks of flesh from the face of a 65-year-old homeless man.

Police initially suspected the attacker had been high on bath salts, but subsequent toxicology tests revealed marijuana, and not synthetic cathinones, was in his bloodstream when he brutalized the victim and threatened cops.

One night earlier this month, in Taunton, two people allegedly left their car in the middle of Summer Street and ran into the lobby of the police station claiming they had ingested bath salts.

The pair were taken to hospital where they were examined and released.

President Obama on July 9 signed a law identifying the active ingredients in bath salts as illegal. A total of 38 states now ban the sale of bath salts.

But products with names like Vanilla Sky, Ivory Wave and Bliss continue to be sold in some places. Authorities in the past have said warning labels, stating the products are not suitable for human consumption, has made across-the-board enforcement difficult.

In Massachusetts the Legislature is expected to pass a measure effectively banning sale of bath-salt products.The House already passed an amendment categorizing as drug trafficking the sale of such amphetamines; the Senate, meanwhile, has until this Wednesday to act.

Taunton Police Chief Edward Walsh says he’s prepared to take measures if lawmakers fail to act. Walsh said if a state law isn’t adopted to ban the sale of bath salt-like crystals, he’ll introduce a municipal ordinance making it illegal.

State Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, said the bath salt issue is “something we’re serious about.”

“I’ve heard a number of horror stories,” Pacheco said. “It’s being looked at very seriously.”

Managers and owners of four Taunton convenience stores on Monday insisted they don’t and never have sold bath salts, which can sell for anywhere between $15 and $35 per gram.

Alie Soufan, owner of Grampy’s Corner Store on High Street, said he’s never seen bath salts but occasionally is asked if he sells them.

Another store owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said after he informed a customer he doesn’t sell bath salts, the man and a friend eventually came back with the drug and asked why he couldn’t keep it in stock.

Peter Ibrahim, owner of Pete’s Mart on County Street, said he’s been queried on occasion by police who suspect he might have sold the potentially deadly product.

Ibrahim, 30, said in the more than eight years he’s owned his store he’s never carried such an item.

“I’ve told them they can come in here with a search warrant if they want; I’ve got nothing to hide,” said Ibrahim, who blames unnamed local competitors with spreading rumors to damage his reputation.

As for the availability of bath salts in the Taunton area, Ibrahim said he knows of at least one storeowner who in the past has sold them under the table.

‘Bath Salts’ A Deadly New Drug


Bath Salts, sold in small packets with names like “Blue Wave,” “Cloud Nine,” and “White Lady,” are the newest — and scariest — designer drug. (Image of legitimate bath salts via Wikipedia)

Can the headlines really have it right?  Is there really a new drug that makes people so violent they bite each others’ faces off? I wish this was a News of the Worldheadline that we could all dismiss, along with the stories of alien babies and women giving birth at 95. But in this case, the headlines do have it right — sort of.

Yes, unfortunately, there’s a new drug making its way into communities across the country and it’s really, really scary.

How scary? Well, in the incident described in the current headlines, a 31-year-old man, Rudy Eugene of Miami, attacked a 65-year-old homeless man, stripped off all his clothes, dived on top of him, and started chewing off his face. Eugene had a history of run-ins with the police, and had been accused of domestic violence, but his history hadn’t suggested a risk of public violence. The explanation — if there is one — seems to be that bath salts can trigger a full-blown psychotic episode with extreme delusions.

Who knows what type of hallucination would lead someone to eat another person’s face, but you can imagine it would have to be a pretty extreme and vivid one. Reports from onlookers characterized Eugene as a “zombie,” behaving as if he were under the control of some evil spectre.

So what are “Bath Salts” – and how did the drug get this ridiculously misleading name?

Like Ecstasy and methamphetamine, the drug known as “bath salts” is a designer drug, which means it’s synthetic, concocted in a lab. (On the street, it’s also sometimes called “bath powder,” “herbal incense,” or “plant food.”) What makes the term “bath salts” more confusing, though, is that name is used for a surprisingly large number of different chemical combinations.

To understand what the drug does, think of “bath salts” as a cross between meth and acid. Well, sort of. Like cocaine, meth, and speed, bath salts work by stimulating the central nervous system, kicking it into overdrive, if you will. But the drug also apparently causes paranoid delusions and/or hallucinations. Experts are saying it’s psychoactive, rather than hallucinogenic like acid, but the end result appears to be similar: delusional beliefs acted upon in violent ways.

The key ingredients that go into bath salts are the synthetic compounds MDPV (3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone), mephedrone, pyrovalerone, and methylone. But there are many other ingredients used in addition to these, or in place of them. For example, many of the “bath salts” seized have been found to contain extremely high levels of caffeine.

MDPV and mephedrone, the most common bath salts, originated as synthetic versions of a natural ingredient found in Khat (Catha edulis), a hallucinogenic plant found in eastern Africa. Cathinone, the active ingredient in khat, is a Schedule 1 controlled substance, meaning illegal. However,  MDPV and mephedrone were legal until Fall 2011 when the FDA banned them, but underground chemists keep skirting the law by slightly altering the chemical compounds to come up with new versions that are technically legal. The FDA now refers to bath salts as a “designer drug of the phenethylamine class.” Slang names for mephedrone include “meph,” “drone”, and MCAT.

Yikes! Where did bath salts come from?

Currently, the chemicals we call “bath salts” are most frequently manufactured and imported from China and Europe, but drug officials say it’s only a matter of time before American drug-cookers begin making them. The history of bath salts is both fascinating and frightening. The drug was actually first formulated in France in the 1920s, but disappeared until it was rediscovered from the obscurity of academia by an underground chemist. He published the recipe on a website known as called the Hive, which was shut down in 2004 for sharing waaayyyy too much info about illegal substances. But the word was out, and the drug became extremely popular all over Europe.

It might be interesting to those in the pharmaceutical and chemical fields to note that bath salts were legal in Israel starting around 2004, sold under the name hagigat. Once declared illegal, the cathinone was modified and another Israeli company, Neorganics, sold the drug as pills and liquids under several names, including Neodoves, until the Israeli government specifically made mephedrone illegal in 2008.

In the UK, various drugs in the bath salts category have become a serious problem, passed out like candy at music festivals and easily available at head shops and on the street. They’re now listed just behind marijuana, Ecstasy, and cocaine as the fourth most popular street drug.

Bath salts are cheap, innocent looking, easy to obtain, and many people think they’re legal, or at least know they’re unlikely to be caught and prosecuted for using them. Bath salts come in little packets with soothing names like “Blue Silk”, “Bliss,” “Vanilla Sky,” and “Ivory Wave,” and cost just $25-60 a packet. (Actually, according to one website, some have much scarier sounding names like “Crazy Train,” “White Slut,” and”Eight Ballz”.)

Bath salts can be smoked, snorted,  or injected. The initial symptoms are positive, including relaxation, euphoria, and a sense of warmth and wellbeing similar to Ecstasy. But pretty quickly a darker side of the drug kicks in.

The symptoms of being dangerously high on bath salts include (but aren’t limited to):

  • extreme paranoia

    The FDA has banned the active ingredients in “Bath Salts” but drug designers keep a step ahead.

  • elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and pulse
  • extremely high body temperature
  • sleep deprivation
  • vivid hallucinations
  • hostility or aggression
  • strange eye movements
  • extreme sweating
  • panic attacks
  • suicidal thoughts

Oddly, given the list of symptoms above, another reported side effect of bath salts is “an intense desire to use the drug again.” In other words, it’s highly addictive. Overdoses of bath salts can quickly turn into emergencies because of the lack of knowledge about the drug. Because “bath salts” is a collective term for a bunch of different ingredients, there’s no test to determine if someone took the drug. The only way to know for sure is if the user admits that’s what they took.

Bath Salts and Crime

Bath salts are absurdly easy to get hold of. They’re sold in “head shops” all over the country and even behind the counters in many convenience stores. Reports of violence associated with “bath salts” have been confused by the use of different names for the drug compounds. But those who’ve taken them report feeling that they experienced “pure evil.” Here are just a few of the episodes reported around the country:

  • California: Two 15-year-old boys fell violently ill and developed small holes in their lungs after consuming mephedrone, which they thought was MDMA. The drug was sold to them by a student at a nearby college.
  • Colorado: A drug called Alpha-PVP, a type of bath salt, led to a young man’s death by strangulation when friends tried to restrain him during a violent fit.
  • Washington: Investigators believe that a double murder-suicide in which a man killed his wife and five-year-old son, then shot himself.
  • Louisiana: A 21-year-old Louisiana man slit his throat in front of his family after he snorted bath salts, because he believed police were after him.
  • Pennsylvania: Police arrested a couple high on bath salts who had nearly cut their 5-year-old daughter with a knife, which they were using to stab the “90 people” they believed were “living in the walls” of their apartment.
  • Kentucky: A prison guard off duty reportedly high on bath salts was cited for 10 different acts of violence in two different towns, and ultimately had to be tasered.
  • West Virginia: A man high on bath salts was found wandering the woods in lingerie after he allegedly stabbed a goat.
  • Indiana: A man committed suicide after telling his family for weeks that the FBI were following him and watching him eat.
  • Ohio: A young man was fatally shot after he held a knife to his girlfriend’s neck.
  • California: Two recent suicides have been attributed to bath salts.
  • Police around the country say they’re seeing a spike in domestic violence and assault cases connected with bath salts.

Is Bath Salts an Epidemic?

No, nowhere close. The real drug epidemic is oxycodone, which is now the second highest cause of accidental death in the U.S., behind car accidents.

But what’s scary about bath salts is how the drug seems to have appeared out of nowhere, and how fast it’s taking hold. In the past year, the number of calls to poison control centers about bath salts increased more than 20 times, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, from 304 reports in 2010 to 6,138 in 2011. According to the FDA, no reports of the drug surfaced until 2009, during which the FDA reported two cases. By the following year there were more than 300 cases, and by last year the number had tripled to over 900 cases.

That’s a tiny number, to be sure. But those most often using the drugs are kids and teens, whose brains and central nervous systems are still developing. In fact, experts say the drugs are marketed directly to kids, with cartoon characters on the colorful packages.

So we have a drug that’s easily available, inexpensive, innocent sounding, and profoundly addictive. Doesn’t that sound to you like we’re going to have a serious new drug problem on our hands in a few years?

Teens and Drugs – K2 and Spice are Banned, but What Fix is Next?


 

“Drug du jour K2 is now illegal in Michigan. But that doesn’t mean parents can rest easy. What’s at the heart of teen drug use? And what can families and communities do?”

 

Nearly two years ago, Bill Miskokomon began noticing a dramatic shift in his 16-year-old son’s personality.

“He was not the kid I knew at all,” the Shelby Township dad recalls. “I knew it wasn’t him, and I couldn’t reach him.”

The blank stares, slipping grades and countless fights were too much to brush off as typical teen rebellion. Miskokomon, who asked that his teen son not be named, started to wonder if his son was using drugs. He administered drug tests to his son when it was time for the teen to get a driver’s license, but the results came up clean each time.

“I had a false sense of security,” he says of the negative tests – but he knew his child “still wasn’t acting himself.” As his relationship with his son further dwindled, he continued searching for the reason why.

Desperate for answers, Miskokomon searched the teenager’s bedroom and found small, silvery packages labeled “potpourri.”

A worried Miskokomon researched the substance online and discovered the potpourri he found in his son’s room was actually K2, or “Spice” – a synthetic drug made of herbs, sprayed with chemicals and manufactured to mock the effects of marijuana when smoked, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The designer drug didn’t show up on drug tests, was addictive, and – shockingly enough – was perfectly legal.

Miskokomon’s son, now 17, had been smoking K2 for about a year and a half when Miskokomon found out. The teen had been buying it at a local gas station and smoke shop.

“It was like living a nightmare,” Miskokomon says of that time. “A lot of times I’d worry if he was coming home, (or) if I was going to find him alive in the morning.”

K2 received big headlines this summer as communities from Ann Arbor to Detroit to the entire county of Macomb passed ordinances banning the sale of it and other synthetic drugs, such as “bath salts.” Within weeks, the state legislature fast-tracked a bill banning the sale of the drug statewide, and Gov. Rick Snyder officially kiboshed K2’s legal status by signing the bill into law on June 19, 2012.

But while parents and politicians rejoiced, drug treatment experts and law enforcement officials had a more tempered response. They, after all, are on the front lines of teen drug use, and were well aware that K2 was just the latest teen drug trend. Banning one type of drug – while crucial – was just one battle in a war that may never be won.

After all, approximately 50 percent of high school seniors have tried an illicit drug in their lifetimes, and approximately 20 percent of eighth-graders have done the same, according to the national “Monitoring the Future Study” released by the University of Michigan in December 2011.

The prevalence, the problem and the publicity beg the question: Is there any way to stop teens from getting high?

Why teens do drugs

As long as there have been drugs, teens have experimented with them. The risky teenage behavior has to do with brain development, says Dr. Charlene McGunn, executive director ofChippewa Valley Coalition for Youth and Families, an anti-drug organization based in Clinton Township.

“The brain of an adolescent is research-proven to be a work in progress,” she says, noting that MRI studies have shown “the brain is really not fully developed … until into the 20s.”

“The area of the brain that is last to develop” – known as the prefrontal cortex – “is what promotes decision making,” she says. Hence, a premature prefrontal cortex can cause teens to make bad decisions or take risks.

Of course, there are social reasons teens dabble with drugs, too.

“Kids are curious and they will try things,” says Mark Hackel, Macomb County’s executive and former county sheriff. Hackel helped Macomb become one of the first counties in southeast Michigan to ban the sale of K2 in early June.

Hackel says “it’s not one thing” that causes teens to try drugs. Rather, he thinks, “it has a lot to do with society in general.”

Hackel says teens sometimes try drugs and drink alcohol because of the examples they’re seeing on TV, among peers or even in their own homes.

“Parents provide a terrible example to kids sometimes,” Hackel says.

For example, if parents come home from a party and tell a friend on the phone about how drunk they were, or if they come home from work and drink several beers a night, they’re sending their teen the message that “it can’t be that bad,” he says.

“We unfortunately don’t set a very good example for kids in our daily lives,” Hackel says. “(The) reality is we don’t realize the impact we’re having on kids.”

When all of these influences mix with teenage curiosity, kids try drugs for the first time – or “the worst time,” as Hackel puts it, because the teen is then “always chasing that same high.”

McGunn says that a majority of alcoholics and drug users began using during adolescence.

“We don’t know the long-term implications of drug use on the developing brain,” McGunn says. “What we do know is that if we can postpone the use of alcohol until the age of 21, we will not, very likely, have an alcoholic.”

The powerful role parents play

Following the battle to get his son help and inform others about K2’s dangers, Miskokomon has formulated advice for other parents: “Get more involved.”

Parents, he says, are “so busy” with their “day-to-day lives” that sometimes, they believe “as long as my kids aren’t in trouble, they’re fine.”

“I just think as parents, we need to step back and take time with our kids,” Miskokomon says. “Pay attention to what’s going on in their lives.”

And if parents see a change in their teen’s behavior, he says, “Ask why.”

As McGunn has found through the teen focus groups she studies with her coalition, teens want their parents to be involved in their lives, and studies have shown that parental involvement is one of the biggest factors in preventing teen drug use.

“(Teens) don’t want parents to be controlling their every movement,” she says, but “they want parents to be involved. They really want parents to listen.” When parents supervise their teens’ actions and whereabouts, get involved at their schools and listen to their thoughts and feelings – even those they don’t like – teens feel protected and cared for.

“All the common-sense parenting ideas are really the most important things that can occur for kids to keep them from experimenting,” she says.

Teens are susceptible to making bad decisions based on their premature brains, so “parental presence is so very important” to help kids make the right choices, McGunn says.

What parents can do

To talk to teens about drugs, parents must be informed, McGunn stresses.

“In terms of what parents should be aware of, I think it starts with parents educating themselves on current trends,” she says.

The next step is having a conversation about drugs with kids at a young age.

“Basically by starting to ask what the teen knows, (and) what they’re observing,” parents can start the dialogue, she says. She suggests parents also do this by “expressing considerable concern about any drug – alcohol, marijuana, tobacco – really anything at all that might be used.”

And again, parents should also keep in mind the examples they’re setting for teens, Hackel says.

“I think they need to start realizing it’s our responsibility to set the tone,” he says. “We don’t realize that we’re role models and mentors to kids – not just kids in our own homes.”

McGunn suggests parents occasionally throw parties at their home that don’t include alcohol, for example, since alcohol is “the primary drug that teens are going to see their parents use.

“It sends a distinct message that you can celebrate and have a good time without alcohol,” she says.

Peers also play a large role in influencing teenagers. Therefore, McGunn says parents should get to know their teen’s friends.

“One of the ways of determining whether a teen uses is whether they’re associated with other teens who use,” she says.

Fighting the never-ending battle

Sometimes, though, parents cannot stop their teens from trying drugs.

Miskokomon says he talked to his teen about drugs, and spent a lot of time in his son’s life – from Boy Scouts and baseball to attending parent-teacher conferences.

“You can’t stay on your kids 24/7. There’s so much peer pressure out there,” he says.

But Miskokomon’s message to other parents whose kids are doing drugs is “not to give up on their kids.” Today, Miskokomon’s 17-year-old son is back home in Michigan after completing a 30-day drug rehab program in South Dakota.

“He did great,” Miskokomon says, but adds that his son still “has a long road ahead of him.”

While other teens across the nation face similar roads to recovery, new drugs will threaten to wreak havoc on teen lives.

“There’s always going to be the drug of the day,” McGunn admits. “However, that doesn’t mean that parents can’t inoculate their children so they’re less likely to use it.”

The best way to reduce teen drug use is to fight the demand, Hackel says.

“(It’s) K2 today, but what’s it going to be tomorrow? Something different,” he says. “We can’t constantly be chasing after the supply when there’s the demand. How do we get people to say, ‘We don’t want to do drugs?'”

Getting teens to avoid trying drugs is a community effort, McGunn says, and everybody in the community – from law enforcement and churches to schools and coalitions – have a place in doing so.

Yet in the end, “It’s always going to come back to good parenting,” she says, and when you bring all areas of the community together on the issue, “the head of the table is always going to be the parents.”

Legal but Dangerous: Synthetic drug causing problems in Casa Grande


The “spice” container reads: “Warning This Product is Not For Human Consumption.” It’s marketed as incense, herbs or potpourri, but you won’t find it at your local home or candle store. You’ll find this spice at the local convenience and liquor stores, gas stations and smoke shops.The problem with this dangerous drug is so big that President Barack Obama signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 in early July. The law bans synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs like “bath salts,” which are commonly sold as plant food. They have nothing in common with the toiletries used to soften skin.

But the manufacturers simply change the formula slightly to stay one step ahead of the law.

No numbers are yet available for emergency calls resulting from using spice, but the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported more than 6,100 emergency calls about bath salt drugs in 2011 — up from just 304 in 2010 — and more than 1,700 calls in the first half of 2012.

What exactly is spice?

“People say that it’s synthetic marijuana,” said Cindy Schaider, executive director of the Casa Grande Alliance. “It’s not marijuana — in fact that’s part of the danger. People in the first place erroneously believe marijuana is safe — which it’s not — but then if marijuana is safe, then synthetic marijuana would be safe. Neither one is safe, but spice is a really dangerous drug.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines spice as a wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences similar to marijuana (cannabis) and that are marketed as safe, legal alternatives to that drug.

Spice looks like dried grass clippings or shredded plant materials, but it contains chemical additives responsible for mind-altering effects that have been linked to violent behavior across the United States.

According to the National Association for Addiction Professionals, there are two receptors in the human brain that react to cannabinoids. One reduces pain and the other allows people to “get high.” Synthetic or natural substances used to get high can have many other effects on humans: severe anxiety, panic attacks, disassociation, racing thoughts, hallucinations, rapid pulse (tachycardia) and death/suicide.

“The chemical in marijuana stimulates the part of the brain called the cannabinoid receptor and that is what gives them the feeling of intoxication,” Schaider said. “Spice has synthetically created a similar chemical — they spray it on these leaves so when you smoke it, it stimulates that part of your brain.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was able to get five of the major chemicals banned for a one-year period but companies that produce spice are constantly reformulating the chemicals to stay one step ahead of law enforcement.

What smokers say

It’s legal to buy yet everyone I interviewed didn’t want to provide a real name.

“James,” 45, smokes spice every day. “I’ve been smoking it for a couple years — it’s off the chain!” James said. “It’s awesome — for one thing it doesn’t show up on my job’s drug screen. I operate heavy equipment and am drug tested frequently.” James was constantly shifting and appeared nervous, while beads of sweat appeared on his face, despite the fact the interview was conducted in an air-conditioned building.

“You get the same effect as marijuana but you don’t get as sleepy or hallucinate — you get a high but it stops sooner — you stay high for an hour or two. I roll mine in a flavored blunt — try to cover up the taste.”

 

Mom, 40, and Daughter, 19, smoke spice together. This particular day they bought 10 grams of spice, the volume equivalent of $30 in marijuana. “We smoke spice because marijuana is too expensive,” they said.

Mom works in the behavioral health department at a Florence correctional facility. “Not only that but my job drug screens and this isn’t detectable. I’m a little scared and nervous about the things I’ve heard about it though,” she said.

“How people are ending up in diapers or losing their hair or have internal bleeding.” But that doesn’t stop them from using it. “It’s almost the equivalent of smoking marijuana,” Mom said. “Except this is a little more intense — it’s a quicker high but it goes away quicker too. There have been times when I smoked it and I’m sitting down — I have to literally think about what I’m going to do even if it’s just to go to the bathroom — I have to plan it out because I feel like I’m about to fall.”

Drivers under the influence of the drug may face charges of driving while impaired, said Officer Thomas Anderson of the Casa Grande Police Department.

Boyfriend, 28, and Girlfriend, 25, smoke spice regularly.

“I’ve smoked it quite a few times,” Boyfriend said. “It gives you a good high for 15 to 20 minutes. I’ve smoked some that has made me hallucinate — pretty wild.”

Girlfriend said she doesn’t believe it makes people sick.

“I think it’s just mass hysteria — it’s the legal way of smoking marijuana,” she said.

“It’s all a conspiracy made up by the government,” said Boyfriend. However, “I heard people died from it — that makes me nervous.”

Why do they sell it?

It’s legal to sell but the store owners don’t want to use their names.

One Casa Grande smoke shop owner said he didn’t know anything about it when asked if it was dangerous.

“It says not for human consumption,” he commented. “You seem to know more than I do about it.” Other questions received an answer of “no comment.”

A spokeswoman at Smoke’m, 1397 E. Florence Blvd., said the store sells spice as “exotic potpourri.” She said people are using it as synthetic marijuana. Her store doesn’t advertise the product and keeps it hidden behind the counter because children sometimes come into the store with parents.

“It’s [spice] not for human consumption — but it’s in my top six sellers — it’s very common. One of my employees got sick off the old stuff and he had to take a couple of days off from work — flu-like symptoms — it’s not for human consumption,” she said. The owner said she believes the drug will become illegal to sell eventually.

An employee at a liquor store in Casa Grande said she wouldn’t smoke it. She said the store has at least three regular customers, including one man who buys $30 a day in spice — that’s $900 per month.

All the stores I spoke with said they only sell the second generation of spice. However, one customer said he knew of one store that still had the original stuff — you just need to know how to ask for it.

After the first generation of spice and its chemical makeup were made illegal, developers of the product tweaked the molecular structure to avoid prosecution.

One family’s experience

Joe Rodriguez, 46, of Stanfield said he found out his 25-year-old son was smoking spice in November 2011.

“I didn’t know until I went through his room and found a little jar with a screw-on lid,” Rodriguez said. “I asked him, what is this?”

The son told him it was a legal form of cannabis since he couldn’t smoke pot at work due to drug testing.

Rodriguez said he noticed his son’s habits change — from the way he dressed to cleaning up his room.

“Stuff around the house started coming up missing — a PS3 I won at work, a watch and some other stuff,” he said. “I don’t know what he did with it — he just said he needed it. He acted totally different.”

The son had graduated from college with a computer science degree.

“This was a kid who could sit down, look at a computer and say ‘this is the problem’ without even touching it and now he’s forgetting it. My son taught me how to use a computer — he knows how to break them down, he knows code, he knows DOS. If you would have met him before he started smoking spice, he was respectful and a good kid.”

The son is now in the county jail on a misdemeanor charge for failure to appear in court. Rodriguez said one night his son got so angry he threw a speaker at his face, causing Rodriguez to need medical attention under his right eye. The son is scheduled to be released from jail later this month.

“Now he thinks somebody is following him, somebody’s bugging the house — he’s just paranoid,” he said. “This kid used to build robots in high school — this kid was smart.”

Rodriguez is worried the drug caused some permanent damage to his son.

“I know he’s not going to be the same,” he said. “But I’m hoping that he’ll stop it and move forward with his life because he’s a good kid.”

Affecting the community

“I’m really concerned about spice,” Schaider said. “We are part of the Pinal County Substance Abuse Council and put out a brochure each year about drug trends. This year our brochure is about spice and it’s perfectly legal to buy spice.”

Most employers screen with a general five-panel test, referred to as a NIDA-5. This standard test provides rapid results if marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines/methamphetamines, opiates and phencyclidine (PCP) are detected in the urine.

Donna McBride, spokeswoman for Pinal County Juvenile Court Services, said that last year the county was offered free testing for spice for all probationers.

“The numbers were quite high,” she said. “There is a specific test for spice — it’s quite frankly rather costly. If we have a probation officer that suspects a kid might be using this stuff, then they can request an additional testing.”

“When we test­ — we find kids using because it’s easily accessible,” she said. “Have we seen it increase? Yes, because it’s like a new fad — something that kids are going to gravitate toward — something new to try.”

McBride said that if the test comes back positive for spice, the probation officer sits down with the juvenile and the family to discuss counseling information and come up with a plan to help the juvenile. The juvenile is retested at a later date and faces consequences if the result is positive.

“If we start with this town, this county — and stop the sale of it,” Rodriguez said. “These kids are not going to drive to Phoenix to go get it. We can put a dent in stopping them from ruining our kids’ lives — or anybody’s lives.”

McBride offered up one way for the community to be more responsible.

“If you’re a business owner and you do drug testing, make sure that your drug test includes those drugs that are pertinent to our area, which includes spice and bath salts,” she said.

Melbourne Cloud 9, K2, bath salts raid part of nationwide sting


WFTV learned new information on raids aimed at seizing legal products that double as dangerous drugs.

On Wednesday in Melbourne, Drug Enforcement Administration agents seized hundreds of Cloud 9 packets, one of several designer drugs sold as incense, bath salts or plant food.

WFTV learned the raid, called Operation Log-Jam, was part of a nationwide sting.

Brevard County deputies raided a manufacturing facility in Melbourne that was distributing Cloud 9 incense, K2 and bath salts.

Agents pulled workers out in handcuffs and sorted through packages they said were about to be shipped to smoke shops and convenience stores across the state.

“This operation is the first nationwide coordinated U.S. law enforcement strike specifically targeting synthetic drugs sold in legitimate-looking packaging,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.

Nearly 100 people were arrested and more than 5 million packets of synthetic drugs were seized in raids in 60 US cities.

But agents said their work is not done yet.

“We are pursuing long-term criminal investigations that will lead to more arrests and more successful prosecutions,” said James Chaparro, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations.

Officials said these substances are marketed toward teenagers and young adults and are very unsafe.

“They are incredibly dangerous, with users having unpredictable and sometimes deadly reactions to these substances,” said Leonhart.

People who work near the warehouse busted in central Florida said the drugs should be called “brain killers.”

“Some of my friends have been smoking this stuff, and I tell you it’s got to be killing their brains. God, it makes them crazy,” said Brevard County resident Tim Reed.

Agents said the main purpose of the operation was to protect the public.

“Protecting the public from dangerous people, dangerous products and dangerous material is what we do,” said Chaparro.

Agents said the legislature has a hard time keeping up with these operations because as soon as lawmakers outlaw some of these substances, the manufacturers just change the ingredients and continue to sell them.

Bath Salts Problem Grows, Drug Counselors Say They Have Their Hands Full


 

The drug landscape is changing all across the country.  No longer are people just relying on what comes from the Earth.

They’re smoking, inhaling and shooting what chemists make in the lab.  They’re producing marijuana or bath salts.

There was a major bust around the country by the Drug Enforcement Agency.  Investigators found $59 million worth of synthetic marijuana in the Houston area alone.

It comes in small packets that indicate it’s approved by the DEA. Federal investigators say to laugh at that.

Chris Davis has been a drug counselor at Right Step in Houston for more than a decade.

“It’s up there with methamphetamine and cocaine,” Davis said.

He has 10 people he’s currently working with who are hooked on bath salts, a drug that hit the market about two years ago.

It’s a chemical mix that contains amphetamine-like chemicals and Davis says it’s just as addictive as other drugs like cocaine and the symptoms vary.

“Hallucinations and delusional, it can be very scary they can be very paranoid,” Davis said.  “It’s similar to what could happen to using methamphetamines.”

Davis says he’s glad federal agents on cracking down on the synthetic drugs that have landed in smoke shops around the county.

He says the results have made headlines with zombie like users in Florida.  He says it’s not a drug to take lightly and it’s difficult to shake.

“It takes a longer time for them to stabilize.  It’s pretty tough,” Davis said

 

 

 

 

DEA Cracks Down on Synthetic Designer Drugs


The Drug Enforcement Agency has seized more than $36 million in cash and arrested nearly 100 people in a nationwide crackdown on synthetic designer drugs.

The drugs, with names like K2, Spice, and Bath Salts are among the newest drugs of choice in cities across the United States.

DEA agent James Burns said,

“This stuff, in the DEA’s eyes, is just as bad as methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroine,” DEA agent James Burns said.

“When you’re charging $60 for a 3 gram pack of some of this stuff, and it’s labeled glass cleaner, or plant food, or bath salts, I mean, that raises a red flag with me, and it should raise a red flag with any rational individual,” he said.

As part of “Operation Log Jam,” the DEA raided targets in 109 cities. After a raid at a San Diego business, one man, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was always a bit suspicious.

“You’d come around, and there’d be a guy walking around with a lab coat and goggles out in the parking lot,” he said. “Of course it makes you think it’s something not normal.”

DEA officials said the substances can be found at smoke shops, convenience stores, and gas stations. They’re often disguised innocently, and some are even sold in wrappers with cartoon characters.

“Sold in legitimate looking packages, these insidious substances are marketed directly to teenagers and to young adults with benign and catchy titles,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said.

Experts say the drugs can cause extreme paranoia, violent episodes, and death.

In the aftermath of this crackdown, the DEA said there are five million fewer packets of these drugs on the streets. The message, they say, should be clear to dealers.

“You are nothing more than a drug trafficker, and we will bring you to justice,” Leonhart said.

The agency has temporarily banned some of the chemicals found in synthetic marijuana. This month the president signed into law a measure that bans the sale, production, and possession of many of the chemicals found in the most popular synthetic drugs.

Experts who have studied the drugs estimate that there are more than 100 different bath-salt chemicals circulating. The compounds can mimic the effects of cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine.

Leonhart said those arrested could face a variety of state or federal criminal charges.