Area officials warn of synthetic marijuana
BY SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
Saturday, March 02, 2013
3/02/13 at 5:42 AM
Drug Task Force agents raided two stores in Tahlequah and one in Wagoner on Thursday to seize products they believe are illegal drugs sold under the guise of herbal incense.
The product is commonly referred to as synthetic marijuana, spice or incense and is sold under various names, such as K2.
"This is bad stuff," Wagoner County District Attorney Brian Kuester said.
Kuester said officials are hearing stories about children coming to school under the influence of synthetic marijuana, and he said parents need to educate themselves about it.
No arrests were made during Thursday's raids, but Kuester said the investigation will continue.
Area Drug Task Force agents and other law enforcement officials raided T&B Blasters and Outer Zone in Tahlequah and a Shell gas station in Wagoner.
The Outer Zone was also raided in November, records show.
The product, which is basically an herb sprayed with various chemicals, must be tested to determine whether it contains one of the state's 132 illegal compounds.
Kuester said the illegal compound list keeps growing as manufacturers find a loophole in the law by substituting new chemicals.
The industry is not regulated, and some batches could be sprayed lightly or heavily with toxic chemicals that can send people to the hospital or jail, Kuester said.
Cindy Farmer, director of the Juvenile Drug Court in Cherokee County, said about half of her 24 cases involve youths smoking synthetic marijuana.
Farmer said she has received alarming reports about the reactions people have to the drug.
One boy immediately collapsed and had to be resuscitated, and a girl lost her vision for 20 minutes, she said.
A federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released recently links synthetic marijuana to kidney failure.
"It's extremely dangerous, and part of the reason it's so dangerous is that the chemicals placed on the herb aren't measured," Farmer said.
Still, many believe it must be safe because it can be bought in a store, she said.
It is typically sold in a foil package and often comes in kid-friendly flavors such as blueberry and cotton candy.
Because the product typically says on the package that it is not for human consumption, approval by the federal Food and Drug Administration is not required, Farmer said.
Authorities say the product is extremely profitable to the businesses that sell it. Packages are sold for $10 to $25 or more for more potent varieties, Farmer said.
Signs that someone might be using the product include vomiting, agitation, mood swings and hallucinations.
"Many of them say they see the devil. That's literally what they say," Farmer said.
Other names for synthetic marijuana
- Aroma therapy
- Herbal incense
- Legal bug
- Fake weed
- 2nd gen
- Red magic
- Peace out
- Technically classified as poisonous
- Chemically designed to effect the same brain receptors as marijuana does
- Can be 100 times more potent than real marijuana
Original Print Headline: Officials: Synthetic marijuana 'bad stuff'
- Increased agitation
- Increased blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Heart attack
- Inability to control temperature
- Temporary inability to feel pain
- Paranoid delusions
- Exaggerated thoughts of suicide
- Feeling of impending doom
- Panic attacks
- Temporary paralysis
- Indefinite psychosis
Susan Hylton 918-581-8381