Editor's note: The following letter was submitted by Michael Zotto, who is a member of the WI Board of Education as well as the founder of Strategic Protection Group. He was recently featured in a video on WPIX.com about synthetic pot paraphanalia.
Our young adults are becoming the latest casualties of a new drug trend that parents should be aware of. And it’s being sold right in our own neighborhood
It’s an herbal and chemical product which mimics the effects of marijuana and has brand names like K2 , Spice, Hydro, Salvia and Potpourri (and the list of slang names for these synthetic laced substances are constantly changing). Some are referring to it as herbal incense or “fake weed.” Whatever brand name it goes by, it’s dangerous and in some instances has met with deadly consequences.
These drugs are a combination of herbs and spices that have been sprayed with several synthetic chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana. It creates an unpredictable “high” depending on the chemicals. The high is more comparable to cocaine or LSD. These products were made in China, India and other Asian nations and have made it to our streets and local gas stations.
Spice, K2, Hydro and other brands have recently been marketed as incense or "herbal smoking blend." Although most packages say it’s not intended for human consumption, that’s mainly who’s consuming them. Because it’s sold openly, some teens feel it must be safe, but nothing could be further from the truth.
A 21-year-old man who apparently leaped to his death from a Roosevelt Island balcony was smoking salvia just before he jumped, according to police, friends and family of the victim.
Our local emergency rooms are been flooded with young adults as well as grown- ups presenting themselves with blood pressure problems, vomiting, hallucinations, paranoia and anxiety. A 14-year old girl on the east end of Long Island suffered a panic attack and committed suicide after smoking it with friends. The long-term effects are yet to be determined and no studies are available, but irreversible brain damage is suspected.
According to an AP article, “The Drug Enforcement Administration recently used emergency powers to outlaw five chemicals found in synthetic pot, placing them in the same category as heroin and cocaine.” Problem is the manufactures keep changing the chemical component that is sprayed on these substances therefore keeping them one step ahead of law enforcements efforts to seize these products.
I will keep putting pressure on the owners of gas stations in our neighborhood to stop pushing these substances on our kids and remove it from their shelves. A good old fashion boycott of these stations might be in order if they don’t comply with message.
Profiting off the young, innocent and quite often misguided children is disgusting and has no place in our town or any town. The pressures of being a kid and trying to fit in are tough enough without another element thrown into the mix. We as a community and nation have enough problems with underage children and the pervasiveness of alcohol consumption.