Zeeland, MI – June 1, 2012 was a day for awareness. About 40 people, according to The Holland Sentinel, “showed up Friday afternoon to join two women in a picket line targeting synthetic marijuana sales at a Zeeland party store.” The women, Anita Cushman, and Lynn Prins, organized the picket line in what the City Clerk confirmed in a recent email to Jabber Log as being the first in Zeeland’s recent history.
The picket line of concerned members of the community were set up in front of AJ’s, the local store that is selling the legal drug known as “Spice” or “K2”. The line sparked the interest of others within the community, as most were unaware of the legal drug in question.
“There was a woman that came down with her two boys,” explains Cushman in a recent interview with Jabber Log, “well what is this that you’re talking about,” says Cushman as the woman, “her son said, ‘oh you mean the bath salts?’ and she said, “what’s that?’ So we explained it to her and she looks at him and she says, ‘how do you know about this and I don’t?’” Cushman and Prins go on to explain, “It’s about awareness.”
So what is Spice or K2?
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy:
- Synthetic marijuana (often known as “K2” or “Spice”) and bath salts products are often sold in legal retail outlets as “herbal incense” and “plant food,” respectively, and labeled “not for human consumption” to mask their intended purpose and avoid FDA regulatory oversight of the manufacturing process.
- Use of synthetic marijuana is alarmingly high. According to data from the 2011 Monitoring the Future survey of youth drug-use trends, 11.4 percent of 12th graders used Spice or K2 in the past year, making it the second most commonly used illicit drug among seniors.
What are the public health risks?
- Health warnings have been issued by numerous State and local public health authorities and poison control centers describing the adverse health effects associated with the use of synthetic cannabinoids, substituted cathinones, and their related products.
- The effects of synthetic marijuana include agitation, extreme nervousness, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia (fast, racing heartbeat), elevated blood pressure, tremors and seizures, hallucinations, and dilated pupils. Similar to the adverse effects of cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine, bath salt use is associated with increased heart rate and blood pressure, extreme paranoia, hallucinations, and violent behavior, which causes users to harm themselves or others.
The synthetic drug proves to be quite harmful as described by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. It is clearly stated above that effects are “similar to the adverse effects of cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine.” To show a more detailed look at how this affects the body, an infographic has been provided courtesy of recoveryconnection.org. It’s for this reason and the heartache of seeing others suffer from this over-the-counter legal drug that has driven both Cushman and Prins to take a stand and bring awareness to their community.
“It’s all about educating people,” said Prins in an interview with Jabber Log. “How are we going to educate our kids as parents if we’re not educated? You can’t teach about something you know nothing about and the only way to learn about it, is for people to start talking about it and keep the talk going.”