Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Spice Dangers and Prevalence

Spice is growing in popularity among youth, yet in many cases the dangers are unrealized. Common names for spice don't help. One name being "synthetic marijuana" giving the illusion that spice is similar to marijuana when in reality it is nothing like marijuana either in
substance or in effect, and can be up to 100 times more dangerous. 

The other common name for spice is “legal” which could easily give unsuspecting youth the belief that there are no dangers or social consequences for using it. Spice was listed as a schedule 1 substance in 2012, meaning it has no medical use and has a high potential for abuse and is illegal to buy, sell, or possess. 

What is Spice?
Spice is a synthetic drug made up of a group of chemical compounds similar to those used in other illicit drugs. This synthetic drug is extremely dangerous and can cause users to have psychotic breaks and can be life-threatening. The amounts used to make this chemical drug are never consistent, which means users never know what they are getting. Other health effects include: 
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Paranoia and aggression
  • Severe agitation and anxiety
  • Muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors
  • Inability to speak or feel
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Death 
It is critical for parents to be aware of what spice really is and know that it is a prevalent substance being used among youth in Tippecanoe County. Law enforcement officials will tell you that spice is one of the most popular substances going around the schools and neighborhoods today. To quote substance abuse prevention specialist, Officer Jermaine Galloway, "You can't stop what you don't know." Staying in the know about what your kids are faced with regarding substance abuse can only help in preventing your child from abusing dangerous substances. 

A general consensus among Tippecanoe County youth is that the dangers of drug abuse are not talked about with youth early enough or on a frequent enough bases. In a recent conversation with a young adult recovering from drug addition, he stated if he had been warned at a younger age about the dangers of drug abuse and had an adult (particularly a parent) communicate care and a healthy example he would likely not be where he is today. 

What should parents do?
  • Stay ahead of your kids on drug knowledge
  • Talk to your kids about the dangers of drug abuse beginning at a young age and on a frequent bases as they grow up. (For tips on how to talk to your young kids about substance abuse check out our October 31st blog post)
  • Be a role model for your children in substance use and conversation
  • Make sure your kids know you care about them and that you would be disappointed if they abused drugs

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