Synthetic marijuana, also known as “spice” or “K2” has caused several overdoses and some deaths. In 2013, Connor Eckhardt, a California resident, died from smoking spice. He took just one hit of spice, and his health rapidly deteriorated. Connor quickly descended into a coma and passed away a shortly thereafter. He was 19 years old. Connor’s parents maintain a Facebook page in their son’s honor and to spread awareness about the dangers of using spice.
In 2010, the death of David Rozga, a teenager from Iowa, put a glaring spotlight on the consequences of using K2. David shot himself in the head with a family-owned hunting rifle. His friends said he’d smoked K2 about an hour before his death.
Experts say that spice first appeared in the United States in 2004. Many people assume that as a counterfeit form of marijuana, the drug couldn’t be dangerous. Unlike marijuana, it’s legal, and sports teams won’t test for it, so it frequently draws in teens and twenty-somethings alike.
In May, Austin police responded to 15 cases of overdoses due to synthetic marijuana within 24 hours. Within a week, 38 people were treated in Dallas after using spice and K2. According to experts, the number of overdoses and potential fatalities could rise as the drug’s effects could worsen with rising summer temperatures.
Spice is a mix of plant leaves and stems that are sprayed with synthetic chemicals. It’s often sold in brightly colored three ounce bags. The effects of each bag are unpredictable since the additives and amounts of them are different in every bag. HU-210, for instance, has been proven to be 100 to 800 times more powerful than THC, the active chemical in marijuana.
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