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Protect children from dangerous drug

November 9, 2011 - Linda Lobeck
It’s was a frightening thing to hear and it is something that I hadn’t heard about before going to the Iron Mountain City Council meeting Monday night.

Although I’m familiar with many of the problems facing young people and the types of drugs that are out there, I hadn’t heard about potpourri or incense. This latest synthetic marijuana is being used by teens in our own area.

I give the local school district a lot of credit for being proactive and coming out to warn parents and try and get some help from the city council. This legal product, commonly referred to as K2 or Spice, is sold locally and is being smoked by teens. It is 200 times more potent than marijuana and has sent local teens to the emergency room. The product comes in different strengths and each time people smoke it, they might have a different reaction because of how the chemicals are dispersed, according to information from the Poison Control Center.

Symptoms include heart palpitations, respiratory issues, panic attacks, delusions, hallucinations and vomiting. Officials are warning parents to be very cautious of anything that looks like a herbal or natural product that they find in their child’s room.

The Michigan Poison Control Center started tracking hospitalizations caused by the drug in March 2010 and at that time only had 10. But that number spiked up to 165 in 2011 with 97 cases between the ages of 13 and 19. There was also one person, age 12 or younger, also hospitalized after smoking synthetic marijuana.

Local school officials talked about the behavior they have seen with students under the influence of this drug. Their personality will change along with attitudes, and students become very aggressive, combative and argumentative. Physically, some of the students are also unable to hold their heads up.

It’s a chilling thing to see young people’s lives being endangered by something that is legally sold and labeled “not intended for human consumption.” It is equally frightening how easy it is for children to get these products from local shops. And although you must be 18 to purchase it, like anything else, it gets to the younger children. These children are still developing both physically and mentally and no one knows for sure what these types of drugs will do to them.

Right now the concerned parents and school officials attending the meeting are looking for some help from the city council to pass an anti-ordinance that would ban the sale of any types of these products. They are also looking for local legislators to get involved in this process on the state level. Iregardless of who moves on this — something needs to be done immediately. It is a real threat to the children living in this area that everyone needs to be aware of it and work to eliminate it.

As was said eloquently at the meeting, children are the future and we need to do everything we can to protect them from danger.


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