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Addiction Heroin Opiates Prescription Drugs Substance Abuse

The Suburban Rise of Heroin Use

Heroin use is on the rise.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the makers of Oxycontin changed their formula, presumably making it harder to abuse, something unforeseen happened: heroin use began to rise amongst white suburbanites. This is a significant shift from the historically urban prevalence of heroin use. It used to be that heroin was the drug of choice for city-dwelling, young, male minorities. However, the current path to heroin use is paved with prescription opioids. The reality is, addiction doesn’t have any real barriers; it has a broad reach and an even broader topography.

 

When 9,000 patients in treatment centers nationwide were surveyed, its findings showed “90 percent of heroin users were white men and women. Most were relatively young — their average age was 23. And three-quarters said they first started not with heroin but with prescription opioids like OxyContin.”

 

While RX opioids are still one of the more popular drugs of choice, the shift toward heroin was a direct result of cost and availability. For example, OxyContin can go for $80 a pill on the street, while a bag of heroin might be $10. An addict doesn’t care whether or not the chemical compound is safe or consistent: they care about the high.

 

In 2007, over 2,000 people died of heroin overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 200,000 went to ERs after overdosing in 2008.

 

According to this NY Times article, “from 2007 to 2012, the number of people who reported using heroin in the previous year grew to 669,000 from 373,000,” presenting a substantial increase in heroin use.

 

Experts are saying that the aggressive prescribing of opioids like OxyContin and Percocet in the last decade is part and parcel to what has caused the increase in heroin use in wealthier areas. These areas have more access to medical care and doctors willing to write prescriptions. As patients become addicted and the prescriptions dry up, addicts are hitting the street. What seems cheaper at first ends up being financially debilitating as the addiction progresses. That $10 bag becomes two bags, then three, then 10, and before you know it, that heroin addiction has bankrupted your family and destroyed your life.

 

In order to gain control of the increase in heroin use, physicians need to prescribe more cautiously, lessoning the quantity and frequency of prescriptions. And those addicted, be they teens or adults, need to get help and get into treatment. There’s no hope for moderation for an addict – complete abstinence is the only way.

 

Categories
Addiction Parenting Prescription Drugs Prevention Substance Abuse

A New SAMHSA Report Brings Xanax Front and Center

According to a new report issued by SAMHSA  (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services

(Photo credit: Dean812)

Administration), there has been an increase in ER visits due to the recreational use of alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax.  Per the report, “The number of emergency department visits involving non-medical use of the sedative alprazolam (Xanax) doubled from 57, 419 to 124, 902 from 2005 to 2010, and then remained stable at 123, 744 in 2011.”

 

Xanax is part of a class of medications called benxodiazapenes and is indicated for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Benzodiazepenes work on the brain and the nerves – our central nervous system – producing a calming effect.  Benzodiazepenes enhance a chemical, which is naturally found in the body called GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid), which plays a role in regulating the nervous system.

 

It’s noted that Xanax is often one of the first pharmaceutical interventions given to someone struggling with anxiety or panic attacks. In fact, “Alprazolam is the 13th most commonly sold medication in 2012, and is the psychiatric medication most commonly prescribed in 2011.”

 

While Xanax may be effective when used appropriately for anxiety and panic disorders, it is profoundly dangerous when used recreationally. It is highly addictive and often encourages drug-seeking behavior. SAMSHA reports, “The non-medical use of alprazolam can lead to physical dependence, causing withdrawal symptoms such as tremors and seizures.  If alprazolam is combined with alcohol or other drugs that depress the central nervous system — such as narcotic pain relievers — the effects of these drugs on the body can be dangerously enhanced.”

 

The side effects of Xanax (alprazolam) include:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Disinhibition.
  • Skin rash.
  • Constipation.
  • Hallucinations (very rare)

 

According to the SAMHSA study, “In 2011, there were over 1, 200, 000 emergency department visits” as a result of recreational prescription drug use. Often times, recreational users mix several types of prescription drugs or add alcohol, creating a chemical mash-up. How these drugs are acquired is also a problem. It’s not uncommon to procure them from the medicine cabinets of parents, or parents of friends. This fact alone is a reminder for parents to lock away medications that present a danger and get rid of unused medications they have lying around the house. Keep in mind, expiration dates are a non-factor to a teen looking to get high and the reality is, all drugs not currently being used need to be viewed as dangerous.

 

The SAMSHA study acts as a reminder to pay closer attention to our children, and to take responsibility for the medications we have on hand. Adolescence breeds curiosity and is fraught with risk-taking behavior. What’s normal can very quickly go rogue. A child’s curiosity coupled with a genetic propensity for addiction is dangerous; likewise, a child’s curiosity coupled with a lack of impulse control (normal) and a rapidly developing brain (normal) is also dangerous. There is no “safe” curiosity when it comes to drugs. And misusing prescription drugs is not an exception.

Categories
Addiction Parenting Prescription Drugs Prevention

Prescription Drugs: The New Gateway Drugs

Prescription drugs are one of the easiest drugs to obtain.

Ritalin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Often times, it’s as simple as going into the medicine cabinet at home, at a neighbor’s house, a friend’s house or a family member’s home. This ease of accessibility coupled with the curiosity and natural rebelliousness of teenagers is a recipe for experimentation, sneakiness, and even mimicry of parental actions.

 

Some kids start using prescription drugs because they are trying to inappropriately cope with their stress or anxiety; some use it to try to get an “in” with a certain crowd. There are those, too, who have been prescribed a medication for one thing, notice a “benefit” for something else (like more focus on a test), and begin misusing it or sharing it with their friends.

 

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, more than 71, 000 children ages 18 and under are seen in the ER for unintentional overdoses of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

  • Two-thirds (66%) of teens who report abuse of prescription medications get them from friends, family, and acquaintances.
  • Among young people ages 12-17, prescription drugs are the second most abused drug (behind marijuana)
  • Teens ages 12-17 have the second-highest annual rates of prescription drug abuse; young adults 18-25 have the highest rate.
  • Every day, 2700 teens try prescription drugs for the first time with the intent of getting high.
  • Nearly one in four teens have taken a prescription medication that was not prescribed to them.
  • One in three teens report being offered a prescription drug or OTC medication for the purpose of getting high.
  • One in three teens report having a close friend who abuses prescription pain medications.
  • One in four teens report having a close friend who abuses cough medicine to get high.
  • One in 10 teens report abusing cough medicine to get high.

Parents need to take preventative actions with all of their medications. Do you safely dispose of unused medications? Or do they reside in the dark corners of your medicine cabinet, collecting dust on their exhausted expiration dates?  Are they loosely out on a counter or tabletop which is easily accessible? Now is the time to batten down the hatches, so to speak, and take some preventative measures.  Our kids watch us all the time; they learn from our actions and reactions, and they often mimic us so it behooves us to behave in a way that we would like to see our children behave.  Trust me, seeing my son say something sarcastic and realizing he’s just mimicking me is mortifying, and that’s just sarcasm! Kids will try anything on, and if taking a lot of medications is part of your habitual behavior, they will try that on too.

 

  • Communicate with your kids and educate them about the risks of prescription drug abuse. Be honest and age appropriate.
  • Don’t take medications that aren’t prescribed to you. (A recent study by The Partnership at Drugfree.org showed that 27 percent of parents have taken a prescription medicine without having a prescription for it themselves.)
  • Store your medications in a secure place.
  • Count and monitor the amount of pills you have before you lock them up.

 

Prescription drugs are being hailed as the new gateway drug.

More often than not, one begins with prescription opiates and ends up using and abusing street drugs. The reality is, once the medicine cabinets are depleted and the sheer cost of Oxycontin, Vicodin, etc., becomes prohibitive, the path inevitably darkens.

 

Stay aware. Tap into the multitude of resources like SAMHSA, Partnership for a DrugFree America, and the Medicine Abuse Project for more information and free pamphlets. If you suspect your child is abusing prescription drugs or any drugs, seek help.

 

Resources for this blog:

Partnership for Drug Free America

Medicine Abuse Project

Educate Before You Medicate

Dispose My Meds

FDA

Categories
Addiction Prevention Substance Abuse Synthetic Drugs

Taking a Look at Krokodil–The Flesh-Eating Street Drug

We’ve done several blogs on the street drugs Molly, K2 and Spice, and now it’s time to take a look at Krokodil. Krokodil is a homemade heroin substitute birthed in a rural part of Russia. Its primary ingredient is desomorphine – a morphine derivative once used in Switzerland in the 30s under the brand name Permonid because of its effectiveness and reputation for being short-acting with a quick onset–it’s around 8-10 times more potent than morphine. The street use is far different and much more sinister.

 

Krokodil is manufactured from what is purported to be a simple synthesis of codeine combined with ingredients such as paint thinner, iodine, and red phosphorus (among other things).  Toxic city! And it’s aptly named Krokodil because its use can turn your skin black, green and/or scaly—like a crocodile. David DiSalvo at Forbes wrote that it is “Essentially a corrosive acid with opiate effects, it (sic) destroys body tissue the way battery acid eats through plastic, opening large sores that can go all the way to the bone.”  Russia is the largest consumer of heroin in the world, and Krokodil is its street-ready replacement since  heroin has become harder and harder to obtain. The extreme poverty in rural Russia and desperation for escape is fueling a dangerous addiction.

 

So far, krokodil isn’t a real threat to the US, where heroin and other street drugs are easy to come by. However, when two patients in Ohio claimed to be using the drug, and were showing signs they were suffering from the consequences of krokodil use, Dany Thekkemuriyil and Unnikrishnan Pillai, both physicians at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center in Richmond Heights, Mo, reported their findings to the American Journal of Medicine. Right now, the main issue with this particular synthetic drug relies on its prevalence in other countries.  Purportedly, the cases in the US that were initially believed to be krokodil have not been confirmed and none tested positively for desomorphane. What we are especially seeing is the International effects of a dangerous street drug borne out of poverty and hosted by severe addiction and despair. It is cause for concern from a global standpoint. This is also a great reminder to remain knowledgeable about what drugs are out there, not to encourage panic, but to arm ourselves with clearer understanding and awareness. The truth is, we need to be more aware of drug use, carry out proper disposal of medications after they are no longer needed, and begin using healthier resources to manage our stress and discomfort. There’s no need to start playing scientist to get away from our feelings.

 

Categories
Addiction Synthetic Drugs

Molly: A Dangerous, Synthetic Ride

Tablets sold as MDMA may contain other chemicals (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Molly is the slang term for the man-made drug MDMA (ecstasy). It’s a well-known synthetic, psychoactive drug often used at all-night parties or raves and sold as the “pure form of MDMA,” something medical professionals and the DEA are finding far from the truth. What is being sold is an unpredictable variation of MDMA with various synthetic drugs being used as filler. Molly provides a fast, relatively long acting (3-6 hours) high with the following effects:

 

  • Increased energy
  • Euphoria,
  • Emotional warmth and empathy to others
  • Distortions in sensory or time perception

 

The physical effects of Molly are similar to other stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines and include:

 

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Muscle tension
  • Clenching of jaw
  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint
  • Chills and/or sweating

The recent surge of young adults overdosing on Molly overdoses is alarming. Medical professionals have noted shifts in their pathology findings in these patients, illustrating the fact that underground chemists are manipulating the molecular compounds of Molly in the same way they are manipulating other synthetic drugs like K2, Spice, and bath salts. According to Rudy Payne, DEA spokesman, “DEA seizures of pure MDMA or ecstasy have dropped indicating that dealers are creating the capsules from other drugs and marketing them as Molly.” This statistic makes a profound statement: “In 2008, the DEA seized 5,377 pounds of Ecstasy. Last year, the DEA seized 954 pounds.”

 

The drug dealers target teens and young adults, promoting a cheap, safe high. What they are selling is the antithesis of safe. Teens and young adults are essentially guinea pigs, experimenting with their brains and cognitive development in the name of fun. On the street, in social circles, and even in some pop songs, Molly is being falsely lauded as harmless.

 

  • Overdose symptoms include:
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Overheating
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shivering
  • Involuntary twitching

 

To put things into perspective, these four Molly related deaths occurred this summer:

 

  • Two college students died at the Electric Zoo festival in New York, prompting a shutdown.
  • A University of Virginia student died at a rave in Washington, D.C.
  • A 19-year-old died in a club in Boston, and 3 others overdosed.

 

There are long-term effects from using these drugs. It negatively affects one’s brain chemistry, and can damage the brain for several years following heavy use. Researchers have found that MDMA affect the neurons that use serotonin to communicate with other neurons. Seratonin controls our mood, sleep, sensitivity to pain, and aggression. Long-term use of MDMA also affects memory loss.  Molly isn’t something to play with. These long-term effects aren’t worth 6 hours of distorted reality.

 

Articles used as reference:

Drug ‘Molly’ is taking a party toll in the United States

NIDA for Teens

Overdoses Attributed to Club Drug “Molly” Increase

Partnership at Drugfree.org

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH)

 

Categories
Addiction Prevention Synthetic Drugs

In the News: Synthetic Marijuana aka Crazy Clown

Crazy Clown (Photo credit: yewenyi)

Synthetic Marijuana is back in the news, this time under the names “Crazy Clown” or “Herbal Madness Incense.” Eight teens and young adults were sent to the hospital in Georgia this weekend because of the effects of this drug. The CDC is investigating this latest designer drug incarnation and has issued a warning. The use of synthetic marijuana is incredibly dangerous and presents a growing public health concern. According to the CDC:

Sixteen cases of synthetic cannabinoid-related acute kidney injury occurred in six states in 2012. Synthetic cannabinoids, which are sold in smoke shops and convenience stores under names like ‘synthetic marijuana,’ ‘Spice,’ ‘K2,’ or ‘herbal incense,’ are designer drugs dissolved in solvent, applied to plant material, and smoked. These psychoactive drugs can have a significant effect on mood or behavior, but also carry the risk of unpredictable toxicity. The growing use of synthetic cannabinoid products is an emerging public health concern. The sixteen cases reported in this study developed kidney damage after smoking synthetic cannabinoid products. In seven of the cases, analyses of the products or blood or urine samples found a unique cannabinoid called XLR-11. These products are often sold as incense and labeled “Not for Human Consumption.” Despite the labeling, individuals use the products as an alternative to marijuana use.  There is a risk that some cannabinoid compounds may be toxic and the health effects may not be easily predictable because of what is still unknown about the products. However, it is important that clinicians, scientists, public health officials, and law enforcement are alerted about the emerging adverse health effects from synthetic drug use.”

Symptoms from the use of this latest version of synthetic marijuana include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dry Mouth
  • Weakness
  • Cardiac Problems
  • Paralysis

We’ve written about Spice, K2, Cloud Nine, bath salts, and all other incarnations of these designer drugs before. They are enticing, especially to teens and young adults looking for a cheap, quick high.  Because these drugs are easily obtained at liquor stores and convenience marts, their often innocuous packaging makes them seem harmless or just “fun.”

 

For now, the active ingredient is unknown, but we know that it is highly dangerous. One of the most troublesome issues regarding synthetic marijuana is the ever-changing ingredients: As soon as one ingredient is banned, it morphs into something new, creating a maelstrom of issues for law enforcement, medical professionals, and the CDC. Usually new synthetic marijuana is discovered because of an increase in ER visits. This stuff is lethal. What looks like a cheap, easy high is more often a fast-track ride to the hospital. It’s not worth it.

 

Categories
Addiction Guest Blogs Recovery

Is Your Teen Taking Drugs?

Is Your Teen Taking Drugs? Follow This 4 Step Action Plan

Guest post by Rosy Cooper of Future Expectations Today

In a survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that the US has a higher number of teen substance-abuse cases in comparison to many other countries. These results can be frightening for the parents of teens, especially those whose age is between 10 to 19 years.

When you discover that your teen is struggling from drug addiction or abuse, you may have a difficult time with your own emotions, anger and feelings. This is the biggest mistake most parents make. Regardless of how critical your teen’s case seems, recovery is feasible with the help of the right support and treatment.

Here is a 5-step action guide to follow to help your teen overcome the drug abuse or addiction:

 1.      Emotional Nurturing

This is one of the most effective factors in drug abuse treatment for adolescents. Take a step forward and reach out to the root cause of the problem and always let your teen know you’re with them until they start loving themselves again.

Remember, it’s not a piece of cake to recover from serious substance abuse. The path is long and challenging. Your teen requires space, time, motivation, commitment and support throughout their recovery.

 2.     Explore Different Treatment Options

Now it’s time to look for the treatment options available in your country.

One of the most important things to consider when you search for treatment is there is no single treatment for all drug addicts. For example, an adult facility wouldn’t work for your teen. Look for an exclusive teen rehabilitation center that best suits your child’s needs and conditions.

Often, drug addict suffer from psychological disorders, which means you need to find a dual-diagnosis treatment center where your teen can get both mental health and drug addiction treatment.

 3.     Don’t Hesitate in Asking For Support

You need support too!  You may share your problems with friends, relatives and other reliable people in your life. Because addiction is a family problem, treatment facilities will also provide family groups, as well as offer support groups. Having supportive resources will provide you with the support you need while also supporting your teen’s recovery process.

 4.     Keep Them Engaged

The best teen drug rehabs, camps or schools follow this concept as a helpful tool for recovering addicts. They organize various fun activities like hiking, mountain climbing, cycling, picnicking, et cetera, to keep struggling teens engaged and to teach social skills while also showing them they can have fun without drugs and alcohol.

These rehab centers or camps may also take troubled teens to various places, so they can experience a diversity of culture and nature. Many studies show that a positive environment, friendliness and healthy activities (both physical and intellectual) play a crucial role in the recovery of adolescents.

The road to recovery is challenging, but the right road map can certainly help your teen on the battlefield of his or her life.

Author Bio: Rosy works for a trust based teen rehabilitation center. She often writes about prevention methods, signs and various treatment methods of teen drug addicts in many health magazines and online blogs. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Categories
Addiction Smoking

E-Cigarettes: Harmless? We Think Not

It turns out those some of those fancy electronic cigarettes are being used to deliver something more sinister than nicotine. The “e-cigs” I’m referring to are called “Trippy Sticks” or “iVapor” by those who alter their purpose. This is the latest trend: taking hash oil (or any intoxicant that can be gelled or liquefied) and injecting it into electronic cigarettes or “portable herbal vaporizers.” These “vape pens” as they are called, have no smell, no smoke, and their true contents are virtually undetectable.  Based on e-cigarette technology, users have found a way to inject hash oil into these devices in order to evaporate high levels of THC without having to burn it.  Unless the e-cigarette is tested, no one would ever know it contains something other than nicotine.

E-Cigarettes were introduced in the US market in 2007. They were initially marketed as an innocuous solution to help smokers stop smoking tobacco. They don’t, however, curb the addiction to nicotine. Rather than getting one’s nicotine from the tobacco in cigarettes, e-cigarettes deliver it through a smoke-free nicotine vapor. And because e-cigs don’t necessarily contain tobacco, they are not subjected to the same tobacco laws—at least, not yet. There aren’t any age restrictions when it comes to purchasing the devices, particularly if you are buying online. Flavored and unflavored e-cigarettes are marketed in a fun, intriguing way, luring in the young and impressionable, and selling themselves to consumers as “harmless.” In fact, non-smoking teens will often smoke the flavored, nicotine-free e-cigarettes, which primes them to eventually smoke the real thing. Some parents may be fooled into thinking that their kids aren’t actually “smoking” and buy the e-cigarettes in an attempt to take preventative action.

 

As we wait for scientists to study the negative effects of e-cigarettes, I am afraid that the fast-paced drug culture has already opened the door for their misuse. It’s troubling that these “Trippy Sticks” are undetectable and that their use is spreading like wild fire. More disturbing is how little research has been done at this point. Warnings haven’t been released, no major upsets have taken place, and no one is in the hospital. Yet. As is often the case, our kids see using something they see as harmless and fun, without considering the possible consequences.

 

E-cigarettes are NOT a safe solution to a bad habit. They are not harmless. They are not something to be encouraged or ignored. With technology everywhere, our teens have easy access to any information, good and bad, but so do we! As parents, it’s the sinister side we have to pay attention to. Technology is how our current and future generations communicate, share, create, and thrive. We have a responsibility to investigate the unknown, ask our own questions, and come out of the dark. Being a Luddite is no longer an excuse for “not knowing” or not understanding our kids; what we don’t know has the power to alienate us and make us disengaged parents. Investigate technology, be in the know, be transparent, ask questions, show real interest in your kids and their lives, and create and hold boundaries. Trippy Sticks are just another fish in the pond of designer drugs, and one way we can nip the new drugs in the bud is if we make them less interesting.

Categories
Addiction Adolescence Prevention

Latest Study: Teens and RX Drugs–Provokes Call for Early Prevention

According to a recent study by Michigan State Researchers, the “Peak risk for misusing prescription pain relievers occurs in mid-adolescence, specifically about 16 years old and earlier than many experts thought.” (Science Daily)

It’s always been assumed that drug and alcohol use starts in the latter years of adolescence, and while that may be the average, by the time some of these kids hit high school, preventative measures may be too late. This study is suggesting that preventative programs be introduced much earlier than in current practice. I echo this sentiment and am a huge proponent of early preventative measures. How early? As soon as the questions start coming up. You can make a difference at home too:

  • Tell your child in a general way what drugs are and how they can negatively impact their life.
  • Teach the value and power  of saying “No” and walking away from people or situations where drugs are involved.
  • Store your medications responsibly: Behind lock and key if necessary.
  • Model good behavior: if you are stressed, take a deep breath instead of a drink or a pill. Your kids learn from you first.
  • Transparency: If you are in recovery, and your kids ask you a question about your history, answer them within reason.
  • Know who your kids’ friends are and who their parents are.
  • Stay in tune with current events and trends.
  • Be social media savvy so you can understand the temperature of this generation.
  • If you discover drugs or alcohol on your child, use it as a doorway to create dialogue.  If you find that the drug use is more of a pattern, please get some help.

There are definitely organizations that teach preparedness and prevention, but the first teachers our kids ever have is us. Showing our kids we’re there for them may be the best preventative measure of all.

You can also check out:

NIDA for Teens

SAMHSA

Prevention Plus

Categories
Addiction Synthetic Drugs

Spice: Your Synthetic Nightmare

Spice, K2, Cloud Nine, Potpourri: call it what you will, it’s all the same: a legal, synthetic, psychotropic drug lurking at the counters of your local liquor store.  Some use these drugs once and walk away, disillusioned by the multitude of negative effects. The addiction-prone continue, disregarding the negative nuances, anxious to get high.  Addiction is funny that way: the bad never seems bad enough to stop.

Recently, 20/20 did an exposé on bath salts, K2, and Spice, exposing the dangers and widespread concern amidst parents and law enforcement officials. Our medical director, Dr. David Lewis, addressed some of the risks related to these substances, telling 20/20: “If you take a developing brain and you put a tremendously psychoactive substance in the middle of that, that developing brain, what you really have is a chemistry experiment.” Dr. Lewis is all too familiar with the negative consequences manifesting in kids who have been using these drugs, and like parents, he also worries about the ease with which one can purchase K2 and Spice. Lewis says, “These people sell the drugs to our kids, no matter what the consequences are.” When 20/20 sent in hidden cameras with underage kids, the truth of this was caught on tape. The retailers are in it for the buck. Show them the money, and they’ll sell you the drugs, regardless of the 18-and-over age restriction.

Unfortunately, this rampant, devil-may-care attitude is substantiated by Dan Francis, the Executive Director of The Retail Compliance Association, who says, “a ban is dangerous” because it “sends it underground.” He even questions the government, saying,” What is wrong with euphoria and what gave them the right to regulate it?” Nothing is wrong with euphoria if it’s obtained through non-harming activities like completing a marathon, or a 2-hour Ashtanga yoga class. But that’s not what’s happening here—instead shops are selling a chemical recipe for disaster. We essentially have kids purchasing substances that have the capability of eliciting a desire to self-harm or increase the potentiality of suicidal ideation. It would be irresponsible if we ignored it.

Related articles:

Stores Fight Proposed Federal Ban on Spice, ‘Legal Marijuana’ (abcnews.go.com)

Synthetic pot can cause psychosis that can last for months, research shows (thenewstribune.com)

Teens Able to Purchase ‘Legal Pot,’ Despite Potentially Deadly Side Effects (abcnews.go.com)