From Cheryl Tobel and Rebecca Dentai, Milford:
(From reading) the well-written and informative article in the Spinal Column Newsweekly (“Lethal… and legal: Concerns about Spice raised in W. Oakland,” March 14, 2012), I and some of my family attended a town hall meeting on March 22 that was held at the Waterford Township Auditorium. This was to educate and inform the community on the dangers of the legal synthetic cannabinoid, Spice.
We were very impressed with the huge turnout. We had actually never heard of this drug until someone close to us became addicted to it. Now, we want to make our community aware of this very dangerous drug. Obviously, it’s been a well-kept secret.
The forum featured top-notch keynote speakers: 51st District Court Judge Jodi Debbrecht; Elizabeth Reader, Program Director for Milford Counseling; Heather Halls, Executive Director for Waterford Coalition for Youth; Dr. Adam Apfelblat of Michigan Chiropractic Specialists of Waterford; and (Waterford) Police Chief Dan McCaw. Another poignant speaker was a mother telling her story of her son’s use of Spice, and the effects it’s had on him and their family. Another speaker, a young man, formerly a user, who had been in trouble with the law, told his story: He is now clean.
This meeting was wonderful! We heard heart-wrenching, sad, and horrible stories of how young people have had horrible (and permanent) side effects from using the drug. Many have ended up in the hospital, on life support, and even died (including suicide).
“The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) banned five synthetic cannabinoids in 2010, but there are over 150 more compounds (and counting) that can be used to create new ‘fake pot’ blends. Manufacturers create new generations of Spice and K2 knockoffs by using chemicals that are not yet restricted, banned, or outlawed in the U.S. and abroad. This means that brand names change constantly.”
It has 100 times more THC than marijuana and is addictive instantly. It’s as bad, if not worse, than PCP, heroin, and crystal meth. It is sold as a “natural air freshener” or “natural incense.”
The scary part is that anyone at any age can purchase these drugs at any gas station, party store, dollar store! This can easily be purchased, and does not show up on a drug test (unless the test is specifically for that drug).
We wanted to speak out on this very important issue. Parents, be aware of any personality changes or actions of your child, and the people they associate with. Kids, if you know of anyone using this drug, please let an adult know. We will continue to do what we can to spread the word to the community, our local officials, our state officials, and also the schools.
Parents and children alike need to be aware and educated about this horrible drug. This is not only being used by teens; even parents and grand-parents are using it! Also, those who are on parole (are using it), as it’s not detected in routine drug testing.
See for yourself how easy it is to just walk in to a local store or gas station and ask for Spice. In fact, there is a local establishment right in downtown Milford that sells it in baggies… with no markings on the bag! Don’t be afraid to confront these store owners and let them know that what they are doing is putting people’s lives in danger. You may even consider letting them know that you will not be frequenting their establishment any more, and will pass it on to friends.
Our kids are trying this stuff because it’s labeled as “herbal.” They think it’s “safe.” Strangers are making this stuff… taking any vegetation, and spraying it with who knows what, or how much chemicals. It may take only one time for them to try it, to have horrible consequences and irreversible damage. Some side effects are: Panic attacks, elevated heart rate, vomiting, increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, disorientation, convulsions, tremors, altered perception, mood swings, aggression, extreme anxiety, and difficulty breathing. There have even been deaths (including suicides) linked to its usage.
As a community, we all need to pull together and contact our state legislators to make these dangerous and deadly uncontrolled drugs illegal. Also, Google “(Michigan) Senate Bill 789.”
We are grateful and blessed beyond words that we found out about our loved one’s addiction before it was too late. We have lived in Milford for many, many years. Let’s do what we can to keep it safe, especially for our children.