Many emergency room physicians are not familiar with symptoms caused by synthetic marijuana such as “K2” and “Spice,” which are sending a growing number of teenagers to the hospital, according to USA Today.
Parents are a key part of the fight against the emerging threat of synthetic drugs, said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy. He spoke Thursday at a working group session on synthetic drugs, which was co-hosted by The Partnership at Drugfree.org.
Synthetic drugs such as “K2,” “Spice” and “Vanilla Sky” are part of an emerging class of abused drugs causing concern among health professionals, researchers and legislators, according to a doctor studying these drugs.
Manufacturers of synthetic marijuana have changed the chemical formulation just enough to evade a ban by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to an article in the Sun-Sentinel. The new formulation is being sold in stores and on the Internet.
Two popular synthetic drugs, K2 and bath salts, have been outlawed in North Carolina. The new law states that bath salts, which mimic the effects of cocaine, have a high risk of being abused, and have no currently accepted medical use in the U.S.
Synthetic marijuana known as Spice can cause long-lasting psychosis, according to a report at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting. Doctors at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego reported that in 10 men hospitalized for psychosis caused by Spice, symptoms lasted for days or even months.
Missouri legislators approved a ban on synthetic drugs, known as bath salts, this week. The bill also expands an existing ban on another synthetic drug called K2, to include other similar substances. The measure is awaiting the governor’s signature.