Athletes fumble in end run around drug tests


Synthetic marijuana can be genuinely dangerous.

Chandler Jones, a 25-year-old defensive end on the New England Patriots, ran shirtless through the parking lot of a Foxborough, Massachusetts, police station on Sunday after smoking synthetic marijuana, according to a report in The Boston Globe. Jones was reportedly in a confused state, a common reaction to the drug, before seeking medical attention.

On Thursday, Jones acknowledged that he made “a pretty stupid mistake.” He didn’t say what he actually ingested.

If the Patriots star did smoke Spice, a common name for synthetic weed, he isn’t the first person to suffer the drug’s frightening side effects. Synthetic marijuana, which began gaining popularity about a decade ago, is dried plant matter sprayed with a psychoactive chemical compound. You can find it at gas stations, novelty stores and head shops in colorful packages sporting names like “Bizarro” and “Cloud9.”

More than 500 brands of the drug, each with a different mix of compounds, are sold in the United States. The startling diversity has made it difficult to control. Worse, it makes Spice a completely unpredictable experience, says Dr. Donna Bush, a forensic toxicologist at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,

“People are thinking it’s marijuana, more of a relaxing experience,” said Bush. They’re not expecting something that’s “physiologically terrifying.”

Data on how much people are using synthetic weed is hard to come by. But a quick Google search shows the drug is getting popular.

The fact that synthetic weed is easy to get — it’s typically sold as incense — is part of its appeal, experts say. Unlike real weed, which requires a prescription in most of the states where you can legally buy it, synthetic weed can be bought with cash or a credit card. Nothing else needed.

Synthetic weed is also cheap. The drug sells online for about $5 per gram, about a fifth of the price a similar amount of good bud would cost.

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Athletes might also like Spice because it’s an end run around drug tests. Players can be suspended for using recreational substances and performance-enhancing drugs, not that the penalties appear to have stopped their use of either.

In December, a defensive tackle at Ole Miss became so paranoid and delusional after allegedly using synthetic marijuana that he broke through his hotel room window and fell more than 15 feet to escape from phantom assailants, according to news reports.

Neither the New England Patriots nor the National Football League, which organizes the professional sports league, returned requests for comment. Ole Miss, formally known as the University of Mississippi, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Reactions like the one Jones appears to have had don’t surprise Ray Ho, a clinical toxicologist with California Poison Control.

After just a few uses, people can “begin developing psychosis.” That means they hallucinate and become paranoid, Ho says, adding that studies show the drug can be 20 times as powerful as marijuana.

“I think it’s becoming an epidemic,” Ho said. “People consider it just as safe as (the marijuana) plant.”

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Ex-deputy charged in ‘spice’ ring


A former Hendricks County deputy provided security for a massive synthetic drug operation that stretched from China to a farm near New Palestine, prosecutors said Friday.

Former Hendricks County Deputy Jason Woods was charged in Hancock County Thursday with six felonies including corrupt business influence, dealing a synthetic drug and other crimes,

Woods, who was held in the Hancock County Jail, appeared in court Friday morning for an initial hearing.

Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said the charges stem from an Indiana State Police and Department of Homeland Security investigation into an international conspiracy stretching from the United States to China and back again to warehouses in Indianapolis and a farm near New Palestine.

“With the cooperation of some of the people that have been charged previously, it gave us the information that allowed us to charge Mr. Woods,” Eaton said.

Woods and his wife, former Hendricks County Deputy Teresa Woods, were arrested in December 2014 on other charges stemming from an investigation into the spice ring. They were suspended, then fired, in March 2014.

Authorities say the farm in the 4500 block of South County Road 650 West was being used as a spice production facility. Woods and his wife spent so much time at that farm, authorities said, that neighbors thought the police officer had moved in.

In the new charging documents, prosecutors say Woods used his position as a deputy provide security at the farm and to escort the spice-production operation when it was relocated to New Palestine from an Indianapolis warehouse.

In return, prosecutors say, Woods received gifts including trips to Phoenix and Las Vegas in 2013.

The alleged ringleader, fundamentalist preacher Robert Jaynes Jr., faces federal charges. Jaynes, authorities say, enlisted members of the Irvington Bible Baptist Church‘s small congregation to fund the operation, launder cash and even employed some to package the drugs and keep the books.

Woods and his wife were members of the church.

Star reporters Tim Evans and Mark Alesia contributed to this story.

Call IndyStar reporter Vic Ryckaert at (317) 444-2701. Follow him on Twitter: @vicryc.

This New Anti-Drug Commercial Is Laughably ’90s


One evening in April, Ethan Darbee, a 24-year-old paramedic in Syracuse, responded to a call on the city’s south side: unknown man down. Rolling up to the scene, he saw a figure lying motionless on the sidewalk. Darbee raked his knuckles across the man’s sternum to assess his level of consciousness. His eyelids fluttered. Inside the ambulance, Darbee hooked him up to a heart monitor, and he jerked involuntarily. The odd reaction puzzled Darbee. Why would the guy recoil from an electrode sticker but not a sternal rub? The driver started for the hospital. Darbee sat in the captain’s chair in the back of the rig, typing on a laptop. Then he heard a sound no paramedic ever wants to hear: the click of a patient’s shoulder harness unlatching. Swiveling around, he found himself eyeball to eyeball with his patient, who was now crouched on all fours on top of the stretcher, growling.

A photo provided by Karen Stallings of her sons, Joey Stallings, left, and Jeffrey Stallings. Both were hospitalized this month after using a synthetic substance called spice that mimics marijuana but is far more potent.Potent ‘Spice’ Drug Fuels Rise in Visits to Emergency RoomAPRIL 24, 2015
So-called synthetic marijuana products are sold in smoke shops and online under names like K2.‘Synthetic Marijuana’ Chemicals BanNOV. 24, 2010
That same evening, Heather Drake, a 29-year-old paramedic, responded to a call at an apartment complex on the west side. When she arrived, four firefighters were grappling with a 120-pound woman who was flailing and flinging vomit at anyone who came near her. A bystander shouted that the woman was high on ‘‘spike’’ — the prevailing local term for synthetic marijuana, which is more commonly known around the country as spice. But Drake didn’t believe it. Spike didn’t turn people into violent lunatics. Phencyclidine (PCP) or synthetic cathinones (‘‘bath salts’’) could do that, maybe even a joint soaked in formaldehyde — but not spike. Drake sprayed a sedative up the woman’s nose and loaded her into the ambulance. A mayday call from another crew came over the radio. In the background static of the transmission, Drake could hear Ethan Darbee yelling.

Darbee’s patient had sprung off the stretcher and knocked him to the floor of the ambulance, punching him repeatedly in the face. Darbee grasped the side-door handle and tumbled into the street. Within moments, the police arrived and quickly subdued the man. Two days later, 19 more spike overdoses would swamp local emergency rooms, more in one day in Syracuse than the number of overdoses reported statewide in most states for all of April.

Kenneth, 45, is a barber and former spike addict who says he first used the drug in prison, where spike was not detected by mandatory drug tests. Credit Philip Montgomery for The New York Times
Syracuse, where I’ve lived almost my entire life, has struggled with synthetic drugs before. William Harper, a local businessman and two-time Republican candidate for City Council, moonlighted as the kingpin of bath salts in New York for two years before the Drug Enforcement Administration took him down in 2011. Was there a spike kingpin out there now, flooding the street with a bad batch? Perhaps, but similar outbreaks occurred in several states along the Gulf of Mexico in April, and the American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that between January and June, the nationwide number of synthetic marijuana ‘‘exposures’’ — that is, reported contact with the substance, which usually means an adverse reaction — had already surpassed totals for 2013 and 2014, and that 15 people died from such exposure. Maybe there was a larger cause.

Continue reading the main story
Every state has banned synthetic cannabinoids, the chemicals in spike that impart the high. Although the active ingredients primarily come from China, where commercial labs manufacture them to order like any other chemical, spike itself is produced domestically. Traffickers spray the chemicals on dried plant material and seal the results in foil pouches; these are then sold on the Internet or distributed to stores across the country, which sell them sometimes under the counter, as in Syracuse, or sometimes right by the cash register, depending on local laws. Unlike marijuana, cocaine and other naturally occurring drugs, synthetic cannabinoids can be tweaked on a molecular level to create novel, and arguably legal, drugs.

Since 2008, when authorities first noted the presence of synthetic cannabinoids in ‘‘legal marijuana’’ products, periodic surges in overdoses have often coincided with new releases, and emergency doctors have had to learn on the fly how to treat them. This latest surge is notable for the severity of symptoms: seizures, extreme swings in heart rate and blood pressure, kidney and respiratory failure, hallucinations. Many patients require such enormous doses of sedatives that they stop breathing and require intubation, and yet they still continue to struggle violently. Eric Kehoe, a shift commander at the Rural Metro ambulance company that employs Darbee and Drake, said bath-salts overdoses are easier to deal with. ‘‘You might find them running naked down the middle of the street,’’ he said, but ‘‘you could talk them down. These people here — there’s no point. You can’t even reason with them. They’re just mute. They have this look about them that’s just like a zombie.’’

Syracuse is one of the poorest cities in America — more than a third of the people here live below the poverty line. After I made a few visits to Upstate University Hospital’s emergency department, where most spike cases in the area end up, it became clear to me that the vast majority of serious users here don’t resemble the victims typically featured in reefer-madness-type stories about the dangers of ‘‘designer drugs.’’ They aren’t curious teenagers dabbling in what they thought was a legal high dispensed from a head shop. They’re broke, often homeless. Many have psychiatric problems. They’ve smoked spike for months, if not years. They buy it from rundown convenience stores and corner dealers in the city’s worst neighborhoods, fully aware that it’s an illegal drug with potentially severe side effects. Doctors could tell me what happened when people overdosed on spike, but they couldn’t tell me why anyone would smoke it in the first place, given the possible consequences.

‘‘It’s crazy,’’ was all that one overdose patient could tell me. ‘‘Syracuse is Spike Nation, man. I don’t know who called it that, but that’s what they’re saying.’’

The visible center of Syracuse’s spike epidemic is the Mission District, a three-block wedge bounded by treeless boulevards and a red railroad trestle with the pronouncement LIVES CHANGE HERE painted on it in huge white letters. Before urban renewal gutted the neighborhood in the 1960s, it was home to a typewriter factory and a rail yard surrounded by blue-collar homes and fringed by mansions that have long since been bulldozed or carved up into boardinghouses. The sprawling Rescue Mission campus, which includes a men’s shelter and a soup kitchen, lends the district its name. The shelter explicitly forbids spike, along with alcohol and other drugs. But at any time during the day, a knot of people can be found under the trestle, dealing and smoking spike, and sometimes passing out from it. One unseasonably hot May afternoon, while I was combing a creek bank for discarded spike packets, a man shouted at me from a bridge: ‘‘That’s a lot of spike down there!’’

He introduced himself as Kenneth, a 44-year-old barber and spike addict with fingertips stained highlighter-yellow by spike resin. He had thin, expressive lips, and when he spoke, his words flowed in multiple stanzas. We sat in the shade under the trestle to talk. Kenneth was in prison when he first smoked spike, which he praised as a ‘‘miracle drug’’ because it didn’t show up on a drug test. ‘‘An addict is always trying to get slick, always trying to get over, always trying to beat a urine, always trying to beat a parole officer, always trying to get high without getting in trouble,’’ he said. ‘‘So I’m loving this drug! I come home, and it’s all over the place.’’

That was a year ago, after Kenneth got out of prison. For a time, he said, he considered dealing spike but decided that smoking it was all the trouble he could afford. Now he hated the stuff. Nobody he knew would choose it over real weed — if real weed were legal. In this way, spike was less a drug of choice than one of necessity. Now he was hooked, he said, and trying to quit. ‘‘It’s an annoying drug,’’ he said, comparing it to crack. ‘‘It’s great in the first two minutes. But then you got to keep lighting up, and lighting up, and lighting up. It’s not like marijuana, smoking a blunt and you’re high for two or three hours.’’

I asked him if he was afraid of landing in the hospital with a tube in his throat, or even dying. The risk of death isn’t a deterrent to an addict, he said — it’s a selling point. Take Mr. Big Shot, for example, a brand of spike that had a reputation on the street for knocking people unconscious. That’s the one everybody wanted, including Kenneth: ‘‘One joint lasted me six hours! I would light it up, take about three lungs, and turn it off. It was that strong. Even the guy in the store where I bought it from said, ‘Listen, smoke this in your house, don’t go into the street with this.’ ’’ If there was a spike dealer in the city selling bad stuff, Kenneth wasn’t aware of it, or he wouldn’t say. In his opinion, people were losing control on spike because they were smoking way too much of it. It was that simple.

‘‘That’s what all these guys do all day long,’’ he said, pointing to a group of loud-talking men hanging out at the other end of the trestle. ‘‘That’s what they’re doing right now.’’ (Kenneth, now 45, recently told me he had kicked his spike habit.)
Other spike users I spoke to in the Mission District made the same argument. One of them was Tyson, a 27-year-old drifter with shaggy brown hair who affected an air of party-dude bonhomie. He’d shot up, smoked, swallowed or snorted just about every drug there is, he said. Last fall, he started using spike for the same reason Kenneth did — to foil mandatory drug tests. Now he was living on the street, waiting for a bed to open up in a rehab facility. I bought him an iced coffee and a wedge of poundcake at the Starbucks in Armory Square, an upscale neighborhood of shops and restaurants three blocks from the Mission District. We sat on a sun-dappled bench, watching lawyers and insurance executives come and go. When I asked him why so many people were overdosing on spike in Syracuse, Tyson blamed novice smokers.

‘‘The first week or so of smoking spike, there’s no control over it,’’ he said. ‘‘I’d smoke it and black out and come to three hours later, hugging a pole.’’

They can’t all be novices, I pointed out. Many of the spike users I talked to at Upstate University Hospital were plenty experienced, and they had ended up in the emergency room regardless. Tyson slurped a blob of whipped cream from his cup and reconsidered the question. His answer was rambling and profane, but it gave me deeper insight into how the spike economy works in Syracuse.

Spike, Tyson said, is a ‘‘poverty drug.’’ A five-gram bag goes for $10 in the store, but it is often subdivided and resold on the street as $1 ‘‘sticks,’’ or joints, and $2 ‘‘freestyle’’ portions — spike poured directly from the bag into the hand of the buyer. Many of the users I spoke to claimed that, in addition to being dirt-cheap, spike was addictive. There are no studies to back up this claim. Toxicologists know only that synthetic cannabinoids bind to certain receptors in the brain, and they understand nothing about the drug’s long-term health effects. Scientific proof aside, Tyson said he knew spike users who performed sex acts for a few dollars. ‘‘That’s how you know that spike is definitely addictive,’’ he said. ‘‘People are out tricking for it.’’

Tyson also explained how easy spike is to get in Syracuse. He ticked off the names of corner stores that sold it from behind the counter. Some required users to know code words — ‘‘Skittles,’’ for example — while others sold spike to anybody who asked for it, including children. Along with the stores, and the entrepreneurs peddling sticks to subsidize their own habits, street dealers offered bags of spike purchased in bulk from distributors in New York City.

‘‘That dude over there, with the headphones on?’’ Tyson said. ‘‘He does it.’’ He pointed his chin toward a young man in a leather coat crossing the street. ‘‘He’s got bags on him right now, but he does that pop-top.’’

‘‘Pop-top’’ is slang for the local spike sold in resealable pouches, the cheapest of the cheap. ‘‘You don’t know where it’s been, who did what with it,’’ Tyson said. No brand of spike is tested for its pharmacological effects, but pop-top spike doesn’t even have the benefit of a street rep. It’s the ditch weed of Spike Nation: rank, wet and worst of all, weak — unless you get a ‘‘hotspot,’’ an unpredictably powerful batch. ‘‘Seventeen joints, you might be fine. Eighteenth joint might put you down for six hours,’’ Tyson said. ‘‘That’s probably going to be what’s going to give somebody a heart attack.’’

Tyson said he’d seen a pop-top operation once, in a dingy basement on Syracuse’s north side. Potpourri was spread atop silk screens on Ping-Pong tables, then doused with unknown chemicals from a spray bottle. What pop-top manufacturers lacked in quality control, they made up for in marketing talent. Their spike was even cheaper than the store-bought variety, and new brands hit the street every month. They also produced clever knockoffs, stuffing their inferior spike into pouches identical to popular store brands. ‘‘That’s the name of the game right now, dude,’’ Tyson said. ‘‘Who can have the best-looking bag.’’

Since the attack on Ethan Darbee, the number of spike overdoses in Syracuse has fallen by half, just as mysteriously as it rose. Maybe spike smokers are being more careful, or doctors are reporting overdoses less frequently. Maybe a bad batch of spike finally ran its course. The answer doesn’t really matter. In a year, or a month, or perhaps tomorrow, the chemicals will be completely different, and we’ll be talking about another surge in emergencies.

The problem is resistant to criminal prosecution, or even basic police work. The Syracuse Police Department has a cellphone video of a spike overdose that they use for training purposes. It was taken in the first week of the outbreak, when the police were responding to as many as 20 overdoses a day. A lieutenant played the video for me one afternoon on a computer at the police station. It starts with a man writhing on the floor in a corridor of an apartment building. The man isn’t under arrest, but his hands are cuffed behind his back, for his own safety, until an ambulance can get there. The man screams the same unintelligible words over and over in a hysterical falsetto. He bangs the back of his head against the wall and hammers his bare heels against the floor. Ragged flaps of pink skin hang off his kneecaps. His bottom lip is literally chewed away. The video ends abruptly with the man in midscream. The lieutenant jerked his thumb toward the computer screen. ‘‘Now,’’ he said to me, ‘‘try to get his name and phone number.’’
A spike packet confiscated by the police in Syracuse. Pouches bought on the street may look identical to the kind sold under the counter in stores but contain spike of even more dubious quality. Credit Philip Montgomery for The New York Times Continue reading the main story
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When the bath-salts outbreak peaked in 2012, the city passed an ordinance equating possession of synthetic drugs with minor infractions like loitering. It also gives the police the authority to confiscate spike from users and, with probable cause, from stores as well. But the ordinance, which pushed spike sales onto the street, did little to prevent the surge of overdoses that hit the city in April. Bill Fitzpatrick, the Onondaga County district attorney, responded to the recent ‘‘crisis,’’ as he put it, by notifying store owners in May that he would charge them with reckless endangerment if they were caught selling spike, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison. That was the extent of his authority. ‘‘What I would ask from the federal government is some sort of sanction against China,’’ a frustrated Fitzpatrick told me. ‘‘Forget about the doctrines of Mao Zedong or Karl Marx — what better way to subvert American society than by shipping this garbage over here and making it attractive to our future generations?’’

In March, the D.E.A. did arrest one Chinese national, a suspected manufacturer who made the mistake of traveling to the United States on business. For the most part, though, federal prosecutors have focused on arresting United States distributors under the controlled-substance-analogue statute, which was designed specifically to target synthetics. According to the statute, prosecutors must prove that the cannabinoids are ‘‘substantially similar’’ to previously banned cannabinoids both chemically and pharmacologically, and that they’re meant for human consumption. That’s why every bag of spike carries the disclaimer ‘‘Not for Human Consumption’’ as a legal fig leaf.

Carla Freedman, assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of New York, has successfully prosecuted many synthetic-drug cases under the statute. She won convictions against not just Syracuse’s bath-salts kingpin but also the owner of a chain of upstate head shops and the members of a Syracuse family who cranked out 200 pounds of spike a month in a rented house with the aid of a cement mixer. ‘‘If you keep taking out smoke shop after smoke shop, you’re putting your finger in the dike,’’ Freedman said. ‘‘If you take out the manufacturer and shut his business down, you stop production for a while.’’

Her current case concerns three associates of a Los Angeles-based organization called Real Feel Products Inc., who are charged with conspiring ‘‘to distribute one or more controlled-substance analogues.’’ Real Feel has done its business in the open, and indeed claims on its website to rank as ‘‘the Top 5 counter culture distribution company in North America.’’ Since Freedman charged the defendants under the analogue statute, their most likely defense will be to argue that they have changed their products frequently enough to keep them within the realm of legality. It’s Freedman’s job to prove that they didn’t. If they had sold heroin instead of spike, they’d already be in jail, and none of this would be an issue. As if more evidence were necessary to prove that synthetic drugs are the new frontier, Real Feel was also at one point developing a reality television show about growing its business.

Neither Fitzpatrick nor Freedman nor Syracuse’s mayor, Stephanie Miner, had any idea who, or what, was causing the overdoses. In Miner’s view, spike was just the drug of the moment, as heroin was last year and bath salts the year before that. She said she believes the real problem is centered on ‘‘undiagnosed trauma’’ that drives people to use drugs — any drugs — in the first place.

‘‘You can’t arrest your way out of these problems,’’ Miner said. ‘‘If somebody thinks that you can use the law to correct behavior that results from mental health issues? Not gonna happen.’’

The next day I went for a ride along with Police Officer Jacob Breen. Just four years out of the academy, Breen still enjoyed patrolling a beat and showed a keen interest in the social fabric of the city’s tough south- and west-side neighborhoods. After decades of economic decline, Syracuse has become one of the most segregated cities in the country, with a predominantly black underclass trapped in the urban core and middle-class whites living in the suburbs. Onondaga County, where Syracuse is the largest city, also has the third-highest rate of ‘‘zombie homes’’ — abandoned by their owners but not yet reclaimed by the banks — in the state. Cruising from block to block, Breen glanced back and forth between the road and a laptop wedged between our seats that displayed mug shots of felons on open warrants, the majority of them young black men. We passed a dilapidated two-story house, its boarded-up windows tagged with graffiti. The front door was ajar. ‘‘Open for business,’’ Breen said, craning his head around to get a glimpse through the door.

What bothered Breen most about the spike problem was how little he could do about it. Dealers, he knew, didn’t care about being hit with an appearance ticket for violating the city ordinance. He had to spend much of his time running around the city to protect ambulance crews from being attacked by freaked-out spike heads — ‘‘a waste of police resources,’’ he said. Sure enough, around 5 p.m., dispatch put out a call regarding a spike overdose. Four officers were already on the scene when we arrived. They stood in the yard of a tidy white house, trying to coax a man down from a set of stairs. The man was in his 40s, with a shaved head and a scraggly beard. Oblivious to the officers, who seemed to know him, he stared at the sky, rolling his eyes.

‘‘Hey, Will, c’mon,’’ one officer said. ‘‘You want to crawl down?’’ Paramedics wheeled a gurney to the stairs, and the situation escalated quickly. When the police laid hands on him, Will began jerking spastically and didn’t stop, even after he was strapped to the gurney and loaded into the ambulance.
Nurses at the hospital discovered three bags of spike on Will. But there was also a sandwich bag filled with what appeared to be small stones. Breen took the spike and the ‘‘moon rocks,’’ as he called them, to the Public Safety Building downtown. While he went to fetch a drug-test field kit, the supervising officer, Sergeant Novitsky, examined the haul. The moon rocks baffled him. ‘‘I just don’t want to touch it,’’ he said.

Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t spike. The kit returned negative results for amphetamines, cocaine, LSD, marijuana, MDMA, methadone, methamphetamine and PCP as well. Breen and Novitsky weren’t sure what to do next. Toss the rocks into an evidence locker? Send them to the crime lab? Neither possibility appealed to Breen. ‘‘The lab’s not testing anything we’re sending,’’ he complained. ‘‘They won’t unless it’s a criminal case.’’ Novitsky shrugged. Overdoses weren’t criminal cases. At my suggestion, Breen decided to take it to Ross Sullivan, an emergency-room doctor at Upstate who has been investigating the toxicology of synthetic drugs.

We parked outside the entrance of Upstate’s emergency department and waited in the dark for the handoff. This was how knowledge of synthetic drugs was being advanced — an ersatz drug deal between a rookie cop and a toxicologist, with a reporter acting as middleman. It was absurd, but it was also somehow fitting. The synthetic-drug industry, and the response to it, are based on improvisation. A molecule is tweaked in a Chinese lab, triggering a chain reaction that goes all the way down the line from dealers to users to paramedics and the police to doctors and lawyers. Just when everybody seems to have a handle on it, the molecule gets tweaked again, and the cycle begins anew. Whatever these rocks were, Upstate’s doctors might very well see a flood of overdoses on it next year.

Spice Is Vice: Mayor Passes New Laws Aimed at Ending ‘Plague of K2′


Mayor Passes New Laws Aimed at Ending ‘Plague of K2′

The Mayor signed a series of laws today criminalizing K2, part of the City’s continuing effort to crack down on the use and sale of synthetic marijuana. The drug, which Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton both referred to as “poison,” is a liquid substance manufacturers spray on herbs. It has been marketed as incense, spice and, perhaps the most hilarious departure from its actual use, bath salts.

The new laws expand upon New York State’s existing ban on K2 (in place since 2012) by making it a crime to manufacture, possess with intent to sell, and sell K2 and all chemically-related imitation substances. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail, fines, as well as civil action by the City. Until now, manufacturers have managed to stay one step ahead of law enforcement and legislation efforts to prohibit the drug by changing the compound just slightly.

The City Council unanimously passed the same bills at the end of September, but with the Mayor’s approval criminalization will become effective in 60 days. Last week, City Council Member Antonio Reynosoconvened a neighborhood task force for a press conference at the intersection of Myrtle and Broadway in Bushwick. The area was deemed a problem spot after local authorities received a number of K2-related complaints from neighbors and local businesses. Reynoso referred to the intersection as an “eyesore,” underscoring the completion of a week-long series of minor beautification efforts that are part of a holistic response to the “K2 epidemic.”

“This is solution-oriented work, this is about finding out what problems people have— so you’re on K2, we’re going to try to find out ways to take care of you, what solutions there are for recovery. If you’re homeless, we’re bringing DHS out, so DHS can deal with that issue. If you’re selling K2 illegally, yes, you’re going to get fined– that’s very important,” Reynoso told B+B after the public meeting.

The new laws are in keeping with Reynoso’s conviction that punishing people at the user level will only exacerbate the K2 problem and make things worse for people abusing the substance. (Many of those users, according to to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are homeless or mentally ill; the drug has also been linked to a dramatic increase in emergency room visits since January). In fact, one of the three laws, Intro 917-A, specifically outlines that anyone who is not selling, making, or otherwise distributing or advertising the drug be shielded from prosecution.

“These laws do not punish the individual who is held in the grip of this toxic drug — we understand that some of the people who use this drug are the most vulnerable in our city,” de Blasio told the crowd at today’s press conference.

The Myrtle - Broadway area has also been hit hard by K2 (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Another law included in the package makes anti-K2 efforts applicable under the city’s Nuisance Abatement Laws, meaning the City will now have the power to sue businesses into oblivion if they’re found repeatedly selling or manufacturing the substance.

At today’s press conference, the Mayor invoked charged language reminiscent of rhetoric used by authorities during the crack epidemic. He referred to the “plague of K2″ as a “new menace” that has caused immense harm and listed off a variety of busts carried out by the NYPD in partnership with the DEA, part of a “vigorous set of actions” already taken by the City in an effort to get rid of the drug.

The Mayor said the laws signed today are the “next step” in eradicating the K2 epidemic which neighborhoods like the East Village and East Harlem have bore the brunt of. He also took the opportunity to flatter the NYPD by warning manufacturers and would-be dealers that they will “now come up against the greatest police force in the world that will be empowered […] to act more aggressively.”

Interestingly, 917-A also criminalizes the manufacture, sale, and possession with intent to sell of phenethylamines, a class of drugs that include substances known as “designer drugs” such as 2C-B and 2C-I, which are taken for their hallucinatory effects similar to psychedelics like LSD (well, “similar” as in how a raging fire and fireworks are related).

“This has taken a toll on too many New Yorkers and too many communities already. It’s something we haven’t seen the likes of in the past and it was crucial before this trend got any worse to act decisively,” de Blasio said at the press conference. “We’re getting K2 off our streets and out of the hands of New Yorkers before it causes more harm to our city.”

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Now we have done a ton of research and found the best supplier online for herbal incense spice and glass pipes.  After making a large purchase from them, searching the internet to insure they are a top supplier and everyone has been happy with there orders and got there shipments on time.

We are here to report one heck of a great review for JONS SMOKE SHOP.

What we did was place a order of several products to sample several of them.  Later in the week we will be placing reviews online for each product to let you know more details about what are favorites were.  Just to give you a sneak peek, they were all amazing.  First we placed our order online last week later in the day.  In 2 days flat we got our order in the mail.  Everything was there to a T that we ordered and the packaging on all spice orders were sealed and the packaging was top of the line.

 

Being over excited was the first thing that came to my mind when i opened the box and got my first glance at all the pretty little packages.  This was my first time tying several of these herbal smoking blends.  As always you never know what to expect in this industry.  Lets face it pretty packaging is not the reason we buy the product.  We just wind up throwing away the packages in the first place.   It’s what in side that really matters.

At the same time, that flashy packaging sealed up is a great touch.  It lets us know that we are getting a quality product and that the company takes pride in there herbal incense and spice products.  So i want to give everyone a list of what we purchased last week and the product reviews that will be coming in the next few days in full detail.

Here is the list of Aromatherapy Herbal Incense Spice Potpourri We Ordered For Our Product Reviews & Company Review

Zero Chem Spice 3 Gram Bag

Click to view product

$19.99 before discount / Best part is the FREE Shipping!   Learn More Here

Information about zero chem spice- Source Jons Smoke Shop.  Zero Chem is 3 grams of the most potent and effective chemical free herbal smoke blend we have for sale! It was developed with organic herbs and plant extracts that consists of 7 different herbs which are extracted over 20 times. Our unique herbal extraction process uses; California Poppy, Passion Flower, Wild Lettuce, and other natural exotic herbs. Zero Chem is a great natural smoking blend and promotes euphoric relaxation for 2 to 3 hours! Zero Chem is legal in all 50 states! No chemicals or synthetic compounds are added to this product. This product does not contain tobacco and will not show up on drug test.

Bali Diesel Smoke

Image of Bali Diesel Smoke

$19.50 before discount / Best part is the FREE Shipping!   Learn More Here

Information about bali diesel smoke herbal incense – Source Jons Smoke Shop.  Is a resonated herbal smoking blend, that combines natural plant material for a safer and more effective experience.  Bali Diesel is legal in all 50 states, with a somewhat robust flavor, the effects commonly associated with use are: Extreme relaxation, mild head buzz, floating sense of joy, and occasional fits of laughter.

Exotic Recreational Blend

Image of E.R.B. (Exotic Recreational Blend)

$15.99 before discount / Best part is the FREE Shipping!   Learn More Here

Information about exotic recreational blend potpourri – Source Jons Smoke Shop.  Is a 100% All Natural smoke blend, perfect for anyone looking to unwind from daily stress. This product, when burned, will leave its users feeling blissfully relaxed and free from worry. Effects most commonly related to use of this product, are, a sense of well being, mild light perception alteration and a state of pleasant passiveness.

We also bought a MUST HAVE Herb Grinder!

Small chrome herb grinders for sale

$24.99 before discount / Best part is the FREE Shipping!   Learn More Here

This is the best size herb grinder on the market.  The other one i have used for the longest time was to big to carry around with me.  This new one that i bought from jons smoke shop is top of the line.  This is a must have herb grinder.  The quality of it is amazing and the size is perfect for me.  This is one of the items you buy and then think to your self “How the hell did i live with out it?”  Really its worth every dime.  The quality of the screen inside the unit is just perfect and built of high quality.  I know that this herb grinder will hold up for years to come.  My only surprise was how affordable a grinder of this quality really was.  My other one i have had for years and its not half as awesome as this one.

 

Now quick update of what is to come on the herbal incense blends we got and tired.  First they did the job and then some.  We are now happy customers for life of jons smoke shop.  What a pleasure to know there is still companies operating in the herbal incense industry that still sell quality products of spice with out changing an arm and a leg.  There product is priced perfect and some of the best i have ever had.  Look for our in-depth reviews about each one of the 3 herbal incense products we got.  We are so pleased with this product and company we just cant wait to let everyone know that there top of the line.

Also right now there running a huge sale for 10% off your order with FREE Shipping.  All you have to do is click this link, then enter this code to save 10% on your order today. CODE = “ZOMBIES”  its really that simple.  Now all of our readers know that we only promote the best blends and the most reputable herbal incense companies!  So head over to Jons Smoke Shop and buy your blends today and drop us a comment and share your experience with us today!

 

K2 and Spice Drugs – Your Days Are Numbered


K2 and spice, your days are designated. By a landslide 96-1 elect on Friday the U.S. Us senate approved the Food and Medication Management (FDA) Safety and Advancement Act, such as an variation suspending a multitude of questionable artificial medication such as these weed alternatives K2 and Liven. The only dissenter was Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

The new FDA Act coalesces three expenses formerly presented by Senators Place Grassley (R-IA), Place Schumer (D-NY) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota). Besides bogus pot, the Act will ban artificial substance products like the hallucinatory 2C-E as well as envigorating substances used in shower salt such as mephedrone, which are promoted under brandnames like “Vanilla Sky” and said to merge the consequences of Euphoria with the obsessive characteristics of crystal meth.

The issue with the ban is that it intends to remove possibly valuable analysis that could be performed by using such artificial medication in a scientific establishing, as Dr. David Huffman (who initially created artificial pot substances for analysis purposes) informed AlterNet.

The new law will also dual the time, from 18 months to three decades, that the DEA can increase “emergency bans” on medication to list them as Routine I according to the Managed Substances Act, as the DEA did with the artificial weed formerly.

This past Dec, the U.S. House of Associates approved the similar Synthetic Medication Control Act of 2011 by a less made the decision majority of 317-98. Besides dimming the desires of future analysis, the Reps’ invoice has a phrase of up to 20 decades in government jail for submission of any amount of these now prohibited artificial medication, which is control as opposed to Us senate edition that prices a 30-year phrase for promoting artificial dope.

Senator Schumer informed the Staten Isle Advance that any, “reconciled” edition of the invoice between the two homes of The legislature will be posted to Chief executive Obama on the all-too-ironic date of This summer 4.

Get the facts on Spice Weed “Synthetic Marijuana”


“Spice” represents a wide range of natural combinations that produce actions just like marijuana (cannabis) and that are marketed as “safe,” lawful solutions to that drugs. Promoted under many titles, such as K2, bogus marijuana, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Incredible satellite tv tv Stones, and others — and recognizable “not for individual consumption” — these items contain dry, broken place content and content preservatives that are responsible for their psychoactive (mind-altering) results.

False Advertising

Labels on Brighten items often announce that they contain “natural” psycho-active content taken from a wide range of plants. Brighten items do contain dry place content, but content research has revealed that their substances are artificial (or designer) cannabinoid substances.
For several years, Brighten combinations have been simple to purchase in head shops and gas applications and via the Internet. Because the substances used in Brighten have a great prospective for ignore and no medical benefit, the Medication Control Management (DEA) has particular the five effective substances most regularly discovered in Brighten as Schedule I managed substances, making it unlawful to offer, buy, or have them. Producers of Brighten items make an effort to prevent these lawful limitations by modifying different substances in their combinations, while the DEA is consistently on the find the scenario and assess the need for helping the list of banned cannabinoids.

Spice items are well-known among young people; of the unlawful drugs most used by high-school mature individuals, they are second only to marijuana. (They are more well-known among young kids than women — this period, nearly twice as many men Twelfth graders revealed past-year use of artificial marijuana as women in the same age group.) Immediate accessibility and the misperception that Brighten items are “natural” and therefore simple have likely provided to their popularity. Another promotion operate is that the substances used in Brighten are not easily determined in traditional drugs assessments.

How Is Brighten Abused?

Some Brighten items are interchanged as “incense,” but they more keep much likeness to potpourri. Like marijuana, Brighten is misused mainly by cigarette smoking cigarettes. Sometimes Brighten is along with marijuana or is ready as an natural infusion for taking.

K2, a well-known product of “Spice” combination.
How Does Brighten Impact the Brain?

Spice clients assessment actions just like those designed by marijuana—elevated feelings, fulfillment, and customized perception—and in some conditions the effects are even more amazing than those of marijuana. Some clients assessment psychotic results like excessive pressure, fear, and hallucinations.

So far, there have been no research of Spice’s results on the mind, but we do know that the cannabinoid substances discovered in Brighten items act on the same cellular receptors as THC, the main psychoactive part of marijuana. Some of the substances discovered in Brighten, however, combine more incredibly to those receptors, which could cause to a much more amazing and surprising effect. Because the content structure of many items marketed as Brighten is unidentified, it is likely that some types also contain substances that could cause considerably different results than the client might predict.

What Are the Other Physical health and fitness Outcomes Spice?

Spice clients who have been taken to Poisons Control Functions assessment signs including fast defeat rate, throwing up, frustration, doubt, and hallucinations. Brighten can also improve hypertension and cause reduced blood vessels vessels movement to the middle (myocardial ischemia), and in a few conditions it has been associated with shifts. Regular clients may experience drawback and habit signs.

We still do not know all the ways Brighten may impact individual health and fitness or how risky it may be, but one public illness is that there may be risky metal remains in Brighten combinations. Without further research, it is difficult to determine whether this problem is confirmed.

‘Synthetic’ marijuana definition fought in court


WEST CHESTER — A Montgomery County man is challenging the law banning the sale of synthetic marijuana, saying that it is so vague that a common sense reading would confuse people as to what substances are illegal and what are not.

In a motion to dismiss the criminal charges against him, Amrish Patel of King of Prussia said that a 2011 law banning the sale of “bath salts” and synthetic marijuana was amended to include substances that cover a wide range of properties, some which might not fit the type of drug legislators wanted to criminalize.

The law that became effective in August 2011 includes the term “synthetic cannabinoids” along with other banned substances. But that term, criminal defense attorney Joseph P. Green Jr. of West Chester wrote in Patel’s motion, is “irremediably vague and without content.”

“The version (of the law) enacted is substantially more vague than the version originally proposed,” Green wrote in the motion. “During the legislative process, the term ‘synthetic cannabinoids’ lost all definition and content. In the scientific community, ‘synthetic cannabinoids’ can include many different types of substances, and people of reasonable intelligence have no way of knowing whether any unlisted substance will be considered to be a synthetic cannabinoid.”

The motion said that some products such as over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen have similar properties to those listed as synthetic cannabinoids in the legislation.

“The legislature likely could have accomplished its stated objective to prohibit possession of designer marijuana by enacting specific legislation incorporating the available descriptions of the … types of chemical substitutions that alter the original chemical structure of marijuana,” the motion states.

Synthetic marijuana, in products known as “Spice,” “K2” and the products Patel is accused of having for sale at his Sadsbury convenience store – “Bossman” and “Cloud 9” – came to public attention in 2011 after a series of incidents in which users became ill or emotionally unstable.

City Council passes ordinance banning synthetic marijuana


The Lubbock City Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning the sale, use and possession of synthetic marijuana at its meeting Thursday.
Synthetic marijuana also is referred to as incense, K-2, legal, spice, spongebud and scooby snax.
There will be a second reading and vote on the same ordinance at the Council meeting Feb. 14, Mayor Pro Tem Karen Gibson said.
After the second reading, the ordinance will go into effect in 30 days if approved, she said.
“It’s a good first step,” Gibson said.
Gibson, Councilman for District 1 Victor Hernandez and Councilman for District 3 Todd Klein worked with the city’s legal department to come up with the ordinance, said Gina Johnson, a non-traditional freshman secondary education major at Lubbock Christian University.
Johnson said there were probably a dozen people at the meeting in support of the ordinance.
“It’s a poison,” Johnson said. “It has got to be removed from our community. It kills people without warning. It isn’t like most of the other illegal drugs because of the fact that one use could do you in.”
At the meeting, Johnson read a poem by an unknown author titled “My Name is ‘Meth.’”
Johnson said she chose to read the poem to let the public know synthetic marijuana is just like every drug, and that it acts like crystal meth.
Michael Phillips, a Lubbock resident, said he has not used synthetic marijuana himself, but he has used mind-altering products including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. He also has a relative who uses synthetic marijuana daily.
“To me he’s acting the same way I would with methamphetamine,” Phillips said. “It’s changing the chemistry.”
His relative’s actions, he said, can be compared to the way the “That 70s Show” characters acted when they would meet in a circle.
Phillips said he was concerned with the lack of ingredient labels on the product, the side effects of using the product and its availability to children.
“They could do a city ban, start there,” he said. “That’s the only thing the Council really can do right now is do it, and then we start education.”
Councilman for District 2 Floyd Price said the ban on synthetic marijuana is just the beginning of what should be done, and he credits Johnson with getting him back on track in reference to drug protection.
Councilwoman for District 6 Latrelle Joy said she spoke on the phone 30 minutes before the meeting with someone whose brother-in-law used synthetic marijuana and is dead.
“The images that he saw when he used this substance,” she said, “those images were so horrible that he’d do anything to get them to go away so he shot himself.”
Floyd, Gibson, Klein and Joy each spoke before the vote was taken, and all were in agreement about educating the public because the ordinance alone was not going to solve the problem.
After the ordinance is passed, Gibson said she is looking for labeling on the packages, anything against resale and education about the substances.
She said communities surrounding Lubbock were watching for the Council’s decision because they knew once the ordinance was passed in Lubbock, other communities may begin to follow suit.
Johnson said she would be in attendance at the second reading.
“This is a minor battle,” she said. “The war is far from won, but it’s a step that had to be taken.”
It is important, she said, for people to call 911 immediately if they experience any symptoms after using synthetic marijuana.

Oakland teen has brush with death from synthetic marijuana


OAKLAND, Calif. — A brand of synthetic marijuana that has been illegal since the federal government banned it last year is still easy to buy in local stores, a fact that led to a frightening near-death experience for a Bay Area teen.
Sidney Washington thought he could get high without getting caught. But one afternoon, the Oakland 16-year-old suddenly collapsed. “I felt like I was overheated. Like I was hot. I felt like I was paralyzed,” said Sidney.
When Sidney’s mom, Latoya, came to pick up her son from an after-school program, she found him lying lifeless on the sidewalk. “I thought my son was dying. I thought that that was my last moment with him. I thought it was over. I thought it was the end,” said Latoya.
Sidney had taken Spice, also known as synthetic marijuana.
“I almost died. I almost lost my life from just smoking, trying to get high. Trying to be cool, I guess,” said Sidney.
Spice is sold in packets usually labeled “incense, not for human consumption.” But police say most people smoke it.
An undercover officer told us just like Bath Salts, another dangerous drug once sold over the counter, Spice can contain a variety of chemicals including an ingredient used in fertilizer.
“It’s a mix of herbs laced with synthetic chemicals designed to mimic the effects of THC. It’s really just an unknown. You don’t know what you are going to get with every batch that you buy and for that it can be extremely dangerous,” said the undercover officer.
Paramedics have seen a range of symptoms. Those that have taken Spice have experienced extreme paranoia, heart failure, or kidney failure.
Many teens found out about Spice in juvenile hall where police say it’s become popular because it can’t be traced through a urine test. Sidney admits he was trying to beat the system while on probation when he first took Spice. “We’re still trying to get high but we don’t want to get in trouble for it,” said Sidney.
Although the first known cases of Spice sprung up in 2004, its popularity gained only recently in Oakland at smoke shops and liquor stores. In fact, Sidney bought his Spice just a block from the youth center. His mother showed our KTVU News crew how easy it was to buy. We went with her to a local store and were sold a packet of Spice for $13 dollars.
This past summer, the Drug Enforcement Agency made five of the most common chemicals used to make spice illegal. But experts say manufacturers keep manipulating the drug and calling it something else in order to avoid the law.
Despite it being banned, we found at least two smoke shops that sold something similar to Spice. Law enforcement officers tell us unless the drug is sold openly, they don’t have the resources to go after every store that may be selling the drug behind the counter.
Sidney’s advice to others thinking of taking it? “I would tell them it’s dangerous. Not worth it, and it’s life risking,” said Sidney.
Now Sidney’s goal is to get a high school diploma and spread the word about a drug so dangerous it nearly cost him his life.