San Jose parents need to be aware of yet another potential threat to their child as the 2010 school year gets underway. A new legal drug known as K2 has become widely available and is potentially dangerous to your student. The facts about K2 are confusing to some, as it is a legally obtained substance.
While kids make back alley drug deals for meth, cocaine and other illegal drugs, they can readily purchase K2 in local Santa Clara County retail outlets, including gas stations and head shops. Even if officials banned the sale in the county, as several states in the Midwest have done, K2 is widely available on the Internet.
What is K2?
According to Anthony Scalzo, M.D., professor of toxicology at Saint Louis University, “Synthetic marijuana, marketed as K2 or spice, is an herbal substance sold as an incense or smoking material that remains legal in the United States. The products contain one or more synthetic compounds that behave similarly to the primary psychoactive constituent of marijuana.” K2 originally began showing up as an incense, bath salts or potpourri. It is typically sold in small packets and looks like a bag of dried herbs. The packaging is usually a cello bag with a bag topper or sticker.
Is there a drug test for K2?
At this time K2 does not show up on drug tests, although that soon may change as companies work on creating a test. The National Center for Drug Free Sport, Inc. is reportedly working on a drug test to detect K2 use in athletes. There is the potential for that test to be available before the end of the year.
Is K2 safe?
“K2 may be a mixture of herbal and spice plant products, but it is sprayed with a potent psychotropic drug and likely contaminated with an unknown toxic substance that is causing many adverse effects. These toxic chemicals are neither natural nor safe,” according to Scalzo.
Barbara Carreno, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, also commented on the appeal to college students because it is a legal drug. “They don’t have a sense of their own mortality yet. And with this, they’re not going to get thrown in jail. It’s got a lot of appeal.”
The drug is beginning to show up in schools in the United States and has been potentially linked to deaths related to its use. Recently, a Dallas teen who reportedly used K2 died from suspected effects of the drug. In Indiana, a young mother was reported dead after using the K2 drug. The Medical News reports that calls are coming into poison control centers all over the country about the use of K2.
Potential symptoms and side effects of K2 drug use:
–Elevated blood pressure
Other known names for K2:
JWH-018, K2, K3, king krypto, synthetic marijuana, fake marijuana, genie, spice and spice gold
For questions about potential poison effects of K2, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.