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January 30, 2012 06:00 PM

Who Is Using Fake Pot And Why?

Sioux Falls, SD


While there are many different names for it, K2 and Spice might be the most popular right now in Sioux Falls.

As a drug prevention counselor for youth, Darcy Jensen says high school students, 9th through 12th graders, are the most prominent age group using fake pot to get high.

"There has been a fairly dramatic increase in use. Last year, we had a few clients who reported use or talked about someone who was using it. But this year we have had it as a very prevalent drug of choice," Jensen said.

Jensen believes K2 or Spice is growing in popularity because it is currently legal to buy and sell.

"It gives that false sense of security. Or, 'How bad can it be if I can buy it online, if I can buy it at the store? Then it really couldn't hurt me, could it?'" Jensen said.

Last week, actress Demi Moore was rushed to the hospital after using Spice. Jensen says parents need to use news reports like this to point out the dangers to their children.

"I think those types of things can be a talking time for us with our kids to talk about why it's important we not use it. Even if someone offers it to you, even if it isn't illegal at this point, it doesn't mean we can put it in our body and think it will be okay," Jensen said.

Jensen says quite a few Sioux Falls area youth have been hospitalized for using fake pot, and three of those kids are now in long-term mental health facilities because of it.

Jensen says synthetic pot has also been attractive to adults because regular drug testing does not catch it.

Signs someone might be using fake pot include: red eyes, pale skin, slow speech and lethargic movements.  Negative side effects to watch for include vomiting, high fever, hallucinations, severe anxiety and an elevated heart rate. 
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