Synthetic pot (aka Spice, K2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks) is marketed as “safe” but there growing evidence of how dangerously spurious this claim is. In order to avoid legal proscription, drug labs constantly modify the chemical compounds that make up spice making it hard for law enforcement - and valid research - to track it. Research and hard science always takes longer to catch-up with the consumption of the drugs.
The bulk of the users of Spice are 12 - 17 years old males because it is so easy to purchase, and, “the primary way to relieve withdrawal symptoms is to use more spice. This is what causes the vicious cycle of addiction that ruins families, loses careers – and worse.” (http://spiceaddictionsupport.org/treatment-options-for-spice-addiction/)
However, the studies continue to come in and it is not pretty. Last month, researchers at the CDC published new findings that ER calls in 2015 from complications with Spice are spiking, with use causing tachycardia, vomiting, paranoia and/or confusion and even 15 deaths.
So what can you do as a parent, or as concerned user? Because young and/or addicted brains haven’t fully developed their executive functioning (are literally incapable of long-term planning), appeals to logic re: danger or mysterious ingredients may not result in avoidance. In other words, the Nancy Reagan “just say no” approach is grossly ineffective. However, peer counseling via Marijuana Anonymous may be exactly the support you are seeking. Individual therapy may be helpful. Students aware of their craving and powerlessness may voluntarily seek residential treatment support, as well.
In general, dependence on substances is not amenable to change from inference, role-modeling and unconditional support; instead, please seek professional assistance.
Part of the sickness and danger is the firm belief that this stuff is harmless.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Patrick Logan, MS is a former wilderness therapy program manager and now IT consults with programs and websites.