Letter to the editor
To the editor:
In January of this year, I quit smoking marijuana and became a regular spice user. I did this so I could pass urinalysis to gain meaningful employment. I also did this because marijuana is illegal, and I wanted to be a better example for my kids. I’m now in treatment at the Ralph Perdue center.
Spice is a shredded plant substance that is smoked. That is where the similarities to marijuana stop.
The high from spice is not the same as marijuana. Spice is 66-800 times stronger than marijuana, depending on the brand, and the high is much shorter in duration. Side effects include blurred vision, cardiac arrest, deadly swelling of the brain, deterioration of motor skills, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, heart palpitations, increased agitation, pale skin, paranoia, respiratory infection, seizures and vomiting.
Withdrawals are similar to cocaine, heroin and meth combined, just less intense. Signs of spice overdose include anxiety attacks, convulsions, dangerous elevated heart rate, psychotic episodes, severe agitation, disorientation and death.
Spice is highly addictive and sold legally in Fairbanks smoke shops marketed toward our youth. Spice may have been “synthetic marijuana” at one time, but in order to outsmart DEA, manufacturers continue to change the molecular structure to keep it legal and continue their profit margin at the expense of our families, youth and community. No one knows what is in it anymore.
This community is feeling the impact of spice right now. Visits to the emergency room, psychiatric wards, treatments and jail are just some of the things a spice addict has to look forward to.
The Fairbanks community can do something about this while we wait for the DEA to ban this for good. I think we should place a high tax on it for two reasons. It makes it less affordable for our youth, and it provides a revenue base for repairing the damage this legal street drug is having.
I realize this is probably unlikely, so let’s begin with something easy we can do: stop calling spice “synthetic marijuana” and call it what it actually is, a “legal street drug.”