Toxic Chemicals In Synthetic Drugs Pose Health Risks

By Staff Reports

(Victorville)–Health care workers, law enforcement agencies and elected officials are dealing with growing concerns about new types of synthetic drugs which include products known as “Spice,” “K2” or “Bath Salts.” Mainly marketed toward youth, these products are avail-able online and at smoke shops and liquor stores. They are marketed and sold as incense or bath salts and are currently available in the High De-sert.

These products may have serious health effects on those who consume them. Ac-cording to research presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s most recent an-nual meeting, these drugs have been known to cause psychosis in some users. Studies conducted on patients who consumed Spice showed symptoms such as auditory and vis-ual hallucinations, paranoid delusions and thoughts of suicide. Most of the patients recov-ered from the psychosis in a matter of days, but some symptoms lasted as long as three months, according to researchers.

Deputy Jarrod Burns of the Victorville Police Department agreed that the symptoms displayed by users of synthetic drugs can be alarming. Burns said that from his experience with a user believed to have consumed bath salts, the effects were similar to the effects of PCP or LSD. The male subject went through cycles of being agitated and being calm. “Deputies had to subdue him with a taser before transporting him to the hospital, and then had to overpower him several times and handcuff him to a bed after he arrived at the hos-pital,” Burns said.

During a hearing of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics, it was reported that the American Association of Poison Control Centers received a dramatic increase in calls related to the use of these synthetic drugs, with only 14 in 2009 and 2,882 in 2010. According to Burns, local authorities are also concerned about a possible increase in the use of these products, and police will receive additional training on how to deal with them the near future.

Local law enforcement is collaborating with the High Desert Community Change Program, a non-profit contracted by the County of San Bernardino that is working to ad-dress alcohol and drug issues, to further study the issue of synthetic drugs. Assessments are being conducted in the region to determine specifically where these products are being sold and help the community identify potential solutions.

For more information, about the dangers of Spice, call (760) 843-7003.

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