Synthetic Marijuana Use Has Dangerous Consequences

4:02 PM, Apr 1, 2012   |    comments
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Synthetic marijuana is sold under a variety of names, including "Mr. Happy".

BUFFALO, N.Y. - A dangerous drug is getting some statewide attention after the it was banned by the New York State Health Commissioner.

Synthetic Marijuana is known by a variety of names, including: "Spice", "K2," or "Mr. Happy".

"Nobody seems to really know completely what its made of, because there's so many different variations," said Jodie Altman, Program Supervisor at Renaissance House in West Seneca.

Generally speaking, it is plant material covered in chemicals that can be smoked or ingested, despite the fact the product is commonly labeled "not for human consumption."

The order cites a drastic spike in related calls to New York poison control centers, and some experts say synthetic marijuana is often more potent than its natural counterpart.

"I'm told the high keeps going and going," said Altman, who also says Renaissance House has been hearing about it for the past year. "I'm also told there's a lot of anger associated with it, a lot of paranoia associated with it, so its definitely as dangerous if not more dangerous."

It's also known to cause death, acute renal failure and seizures.

But it's still not as popular as other drugs, like prescription pills and marijuana.

"I can tell you from talking to people at Central Police Services, I don't believe we've seen a lot of it, that doesn't mean you won't see it," said Senior Detective Alan Rozansky with the Erie County Sheriff's Department.

The ban only carries civil penalties; there are no criminal charges associated with the drug in New York.

"Law enforcement needs to have some teeth in this, you know for sales and possession, to you know, further our endeavor by making arrests," said Rozansky.

 

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