Illness and Death Linked to Synthetic Marijuana in Colorado Senate Caucus to Address these Dangerous DrugsThere were at least 150 sickened, and three deaths linked to synthetic Marijuana in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).These alarming figures give credence to the fact that when you’re dealing with backyard chemists, you may be playing Russian roulette with your health.
Three deaths and the hospitalization of 75 others are still being investigated by the CDC, adding to the ever-growing number of those affected.19-year-old Nicholas Colbert, of Colorado, died in 2011 after smoking the stuff, and his mother is filing suit to prevent sellers from getting away with continued sales, even though chemical compounds used in it’s production were banned. Cause of death was synthetic cannabinoid toxicity, according to the Courthouse News Service. 16-year-old Chase Burnett of Georgia died of drowning in his bathtub last year. His mother found an opened packet of Mojo Diamond Extreme 100X Potpourri (synthetic cannabis) next to the tub where he died. She, too, has filed suit. An Illinois teen crashed his car and died after smoking the same synthetic compound that caused his friend to have seizures and a near-brush with death himself. A rash of teens in Wyoming suffered severe renal (kidney) problems from a bad batch of the substance.Since the compounds are changed ever-so-slightly to maneuver around the law, it’s been a losing battle to find ways to legally squelch it’s sale and production. One may wonder why in Colorado, which legalized the recreational use of real cannabis, people use the synthetic variety at all. Some say that the synthetic high is more intense and psychedelic than the real deal.Unfortunately, the cost of that extra intensity may come in the form of agitation, delirium, extreme sleepiness, unresponsiveness, vomiting, seizures, and even death. But such is the nature of the drug culture – especially with teens who often feel “invincible” and don’t consider the very real dangers of these designer drugs.
Growing need for changeTo that end, a Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control called a hearing September 25 to address the problems of these synthetic drugs designed to mimic the effects of controlled substances like ecstasy, PCP, LSD and THC (the active ingredient in cannabis).Committee leader Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) has recently introduced the Protecting Our Youth from Dangerous Synthetic Drugs Act of 2013. Govtrack.us called this a bill to “address the continued threat posed by dangerous synthetic drugs by amending the Controlled Substances Act relating to controlled substance analogues.”Until these backyard chemists are thwarted, parents must talk openly about the dangers posed by these designer drugs. With more awareness and education, some of these tragedies may be averted. In addition to the real threat of death, irreversible damage can alter a user’s life forever – an incredibly high price to pay for a short period of euphoria.
Get HelpIf you are a parent who suspects your child may be dabbling with these drugs, some form of intervention may be called for. Negating the myth that synthetic cannabis shouldn’t be harmful because it can still be purchased at some retail outlets is absolutely necessary to prevent more tragedies. No synthetic drug is safe to take – even one time – since the chemicals and dosages often vary. There’s absolutely no way to know what you may be getting.
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