What: A 60-image program to educate employees (or communities) about Spice/K2, a synthetic "marijuana" substance causing havoc among young people, the military, and civilian workforces. This program offers solid research-based information about the nature of Spice/K2, its effects, risk, and suggested resources for assessment, evaluation, and treatment.
The goal is of this program is motivating at-risk or would-be users to avoid Spice/K2, and motivating those using Spice/K2 to avoid quit. The added value of this program is its ability to reach formerly inaccessible persons via multiple media formats (see below).
Who: Educate employees, young people, parents, and concerned persons--community leaders, law enforcement, within other educational settings.
Why: There is no predicting what Spice will do to the drug user. Adverse health effects include the potential for seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior, agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, racing heartbeat, and elevated blood pressure. Hundreds of military services professionals have been dismissed for using Spice.
"Spice" is a substance that combines serveral types of herbal mixtures with chemicals that are now banned to produce psychoactive effect that its purveyors like to sell as a high similar to marijuana.
Historically until 2012, Spice was legal in the united states, but now the chemicals are banned by federal law signed into the controlled substances act by President Barak Obama.
Spice is designed to mimic the psychoactive effects of marijuana or pot. However, it is not pot or marijuana. Its active ingredient is not THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana. Proper research does not exist about chemicals that are used in spice. Hence, we are not fully aware of the damage caused by them. Most of the chemicals don’t even have any specific names and are described by letters. For example, JWH-018, HU-210 etc.
Spice is popularly used by teenagers who are often already using pot or marijuana, and it also has been a problem in the military where thousands of personnel have been dismissed because of its use.
Spice is easily available and its use is advertized as legal, but it is not. The many chemicals used to create it are banned and it is illegal to possess them. However, until a couple of years ago, Spice use was legal in the USA. It was only in July 2012 that using Spice was classified as illegal at the federal level.
Spice is also popular among prison inmates or those individuals who are out on parole. Many have used Spice thinking that it is not detectable in drug tests, but technology has caught up.
According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan done in the year 2012, Spice was the second highest drug that is consumed by the high school seniors just after marijuana. Spice use has been reported by one in nine high school seniors, a statistic that is highly perturbing.
Spice is often bought in head shops and some convenience stores, and online. Formulas of chemicals used in Spice keep changing, but the most common myths associated with Spice is that it is “marijuana lite”, legal, safe, undetectable, and not really drug abuse. None of these of course are true.
What are reasons for the growing popularity of Spice?
Spice is very often advertized as a natural replacement for marijuana (which it is not).
Until recently, using Spice was not illegal; hence, it was difficult for drug enforcement authorities to tackle its use.
Until recently, there were no proper tests to detect the drug. Fortunately, now there are tests that can detect traces of the drug in the blood of a person using it; though, due to the various different chemicals used in preparing the drug, successful detection still remains a major challenge.
How is Spice used?
Spice can be bought over the counter in small packets that are sold in the form of incense and potpourri. Spice is either rolled up in aluminum foils or put in glass jars. Spice is inhaled via small pipes, just like marijuana.
Some of the brand names under which Spice is sold are Spice Gold, Spice Diamond, Skunk, Black Mamba, Yucatan Fire, and Galaxy Gold.
What are the effects or hazards of using Spice?
When you use spice, you will experience effects similar to using marijuana; however, you will notice that the high is more intense and induced more quickly. You may experience serious side effects, too. You may develop muscle spasms, seizures or tremors, vomiting, numbness and tingling sensations. Hallucinations, anxiety and headaches are not uncommon. You may also lose consciousness and go into a coma. You may show signs of aggressive and threatening behavior and become paranoid. Abusing spice can lead you to behave violently and some people have committed suicide following its use.
You may also develop symptoms of rapid heart rate and vomiting after abusing spice. Your blood pressure can get raised and the blood supply to your heart gets reduced. Abusing spice is also associated with the development of heart attacks in some people. You may also develop difficulty in breathing, inability to speak, and abdominal cramps.
Why should you not use Spice?
It is easy to get addicted to spice and once you get the habit, you may not be able to stop using it in spite of being aware of the fact that it is producing harmful symptoms. You will want to use it more over time. You’ll experience frustration at the inability to stop using and you may experience close calls getting caught, making you even more determined not to use it. This is called using in spite of adverse consequences and it a major indicator of compulsive use requiring some sort of counseling or treatment to be successful in drug use cessation.
The chemicals used in spice get stored in your body for long time periods. Hence, gradually over time, you will develop more severe side effects of using spice as new dosages are added to the already existing load of spice in the body.
What is the impact of using spice on occupational and social functioning?
Once you have become addicted to spice, you are at the risk of losing everything-your spouse, your friends, your relationships, your job; everything gets affected by abusing spice.
Using spice can have serious effects on your occupation. You may develop low self-esteem and morale, have lower productivity, remain absent from your workplace for longer periods of time than you intended, which could ultimately cause you to lose your job. In the last couple of years hundreds of military personnel have been dismissed from their jobs as a result of using spice. Spice use is now banned and illegal in all branches of the US military.
You are at the risk of losing your relationships and friends, too. As a result of abusing spice, your behavior may become violent and you may attack people around you. This can cause serious impact on your social life.
How dangerous is Spice used?
Spice kills, though the number of deaths caused due to its use is difficult to estimate. However, since the status of the drug has been changed from legal to illegal and improvement have been made in the testing of the drug; there is data available for the first time in the recent years on the devastating effects of Spice on human life. More than 5000 calls in the year 2012 have been received by the poison control centers in the country by people who are asking for help to manage Spice abuse. Hundreds of addicts have sent to ER as a result of Spice overdose.
Just watch this You Tube video to see the devastating impact of Spice use on an individual.
Why should you stop using Spice if you are using it now?
Spice is a very dangerous and highly addictive drug that can cause serious and often life-threatening adverse effects on all the aspects of your life. Abusing spice affects your physical, emotional, economic, and social well-being. You will not be able to stop using the drug once you become addicted to it and may need the help of a drug rehab program before you can be successful. Abusing spice not only has a negative impact on your life but also on the lives of your loved ones such as your spouse and children.
What are the risks of using psychoactive substances?
Abusing psychoactive substances may endanger your life or the life of people around you, in addition to other things you value such as your job. For example, your behavior may become violent or you drive a vehicle under the influence of a psychoactive substance including spice. The time, place, and amount of Spice used may contribute to environment circumstances that place you and others at risk. Loss of the ability to consistently predict the time, place, situation, or amount you use of a substance is diagnostic of addiction.