Rising Concerns Over Synthetic Marijuana Use
Recently we here at Victory Addiction Recovery Center have seen an increase in calls concerning the use and abuse of synthetic marijuana. According to reports, it’s happening across Louisiana.
Even though synthetic marijuana is illegal in our state, as is real marijuana, it seems to be the new drug of choice for many. People use it because they think it is a safe, modified version of real marijuana, and they also assume it will not show up on a drug screen. In reality, chemical compounds, which are not even identified on packaging, are sprayed onto grass or any other “smoke-able” material.
The Advocate says within the first four months of 2014, there were 200 calls to hospitals in the Baton Rouge area concerning health effects after using synthetic marijuana. The types of problems users had were bleeding in the brain, increased heart rate, and blood pressure that can result in stroke or paralysis. The Center for Disease Control saw users become sick within days, even hours, after smoking. Their symptoms included nausea and vomiting as well as abdominal and flank pain. In some instances, the drug has triggered complications that led to death. in addition, users also experienced hallucinogenic psychotic episodes.
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids found that synthetic marijuana was the third most abused substance by high schoolers, behind alcohol and marijuana, in the United States. Louisiana State Police say that in 2013 the cannabinoid ranked third behind marijuana and cocaine with 850 positive tests. However, after the first five months of this year there are over 200 more positive tests for synthetic marijuana than cocaine.
If experts have learned anything about synthetic marijuana so far, it’s that it is not a safer alternative. With the rapidly changing composition of chemicals and the unpredictable health and behavioral effects, health officials warn to stay away from the drug.
If you feel someone you know is using or abusing synthetic marijuana or any other drug, call Victory 24/7 at 347-9307.
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