Judge: K2 and Spice are 'Legal, Lethal and Available' in Troy

In this editorial, 52-4 District Court Judge Kirsten Nielsen Hartig informs readers of the dangers of synthetic marijuana.

The following article was submitted by 52-4 District Court Judge Kirsten Nielsen Hartig.

It’s legal, lethal and available at many gas stations and convenience stores in Clawson, Troy, and every other town or city within Oakland County. K2/Spice is a synthetic (man-made) drug designed to mimic the effects of marijuana.

K2 and Spice are street names used to describe synthetic marijuana. K2/Spice is sold under many names including Green Funky Stuff, Skywalker, Joker and Armageddon. It is packaged with trendy artwork seemingly marketed and desirable to teens and young adults. It is often advertised as legal marijuana and disguised as incense or potpourri. Its label states, “Not for human consumption” or “DEA certified” with the seller’s full knowledge that the purchaser intends to ingest the product. There is no age restriction, so children of any age can purchase it.

This dangerous and addictive drug appeared in Oakland County approximately 4 years ago. Police, judges, emergency rooms and ambulance services are seeing an alarming rise in K2/Spice use, overdose and addiction. According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, K2/Spice is the second most used drug by Michigan teens and young adults with 11.5% of high school seniors admitting to use of this drug in the last year. Many teens use K2/Spice to avoid detection on standard drug screens or because of a misconception that if the drug is legal, it must be safe.

The Michigan Legislature and Governor Snyder are working diligently to legally ban all synthetic marijuana. However, the manufacturers of the drug simply change one molecule of a complex formula to circumvent the law. Currently, there is legislation pending to give authority to regulatory agencies to ban the different compounds more quickly.

K2/Spice is extremely dangerous and life threatening. Effects of K2/Spice use include hallucinations, extreme paranoia, loss of physical control (brain/body disconnect), seizures and death. Users have reported dysphoria, which is extreme depression, along with the experiences that they are in hell and seeing demons. Users can be extremely violent towards themselves and others. The long-term effects of K2/Spice on the body and developing brains of young adults are unknown at this time.

Where can you go to learn more and protect the teens and young adults you love?

I have partnered with the Troy and Clawson Community Coalitions and Chiefs of Police to host a K2/Spice Forum at 6:30 p.m. on May 30 at the Troy City Council Chambers. This forum is a one-stop educational bonanza for anyone who loves a teenager. The elite panelists include a doctor from the Center for Disease Control, Troy E.M.S. First Responder, a Representative, the mother of a K2/Spice addicted teen, former K2/Spice abusers, ER doctor, and a Troy teenage addiction counselor.

Come see, smell, and touch K2/Spice at the Forum. Educate yourself and learn what to look for in your teen's behavior, become familiar with K2/Spice's stylish packaging, and most importantly, learn how to confront your teen about drug use, where to take him/her for a K2/Spice specific drug test, and where to go if your teen is abusing drugs.

This 90-minute program will arm you with what you need to know to keep your teen away from this legal and lethal poison. The K2/Spice at this forum was all purchased in Troy and Clawson in the last month.

This forum is intended for parents, high and middle school counselors and teachers, doctors, nurses, probation officers, and anyone who loves a teenager. This forum is not intended for children or teenagers.


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