Unveiling K2

Image Courtesy of The Sensible Missouri
One of the newest drugs that has been steadily growing more popular, K2, has been causing some problems on campuses across the nation, including our own. Officer Kelly Horvath was kind enough to shed some light on this drug.

K2 is synthetic marijuana, an herbal substrate that is sprayed with a chemical called JWH-018 or similar chemicals. The JWH-018 can be bought off the internet in powder form and is then dissolved with a usually acetone based liquid in order to get the high similar to that of marijuana. K2 can not only be homemade, but it can also be bought in public at some gas stations and other stores.

Effects of K2 can range from feeling mellow or depressed to having higher blood pressure and heart attacks. Students here at Parkside have had seizure like symptoms from the drug, as well as elevated heart rates and high blood pressure. Because this drug is technically legal, students are not violating any rules while smoking it, but they are endangering themselves. Unfortunately, we do not know everything that could come about from using this drug because the effects are being documented as cases present themselves. It is possible there are long term effects we know nothing of at the moment.

Packages of K2 are labeled with a warning against human consumption. This drug was never meant to be consumed in its current form. “The problem is the lack of information from the effects of an unknown drug,” says Horvath.

There has been a presentation about this drug given by Horvath along with the presentation given by Jennifer Busch on Four Loko. Horvath has also offered to do specific presentations to specific groups if they would like. “All we can do at this time is educate [our students] and hope [they] are educated enough to use caution while ingesting or inhaling substances specifically labeled not for human consumption for a reason!”

There is some good news, because Wisconsin is working towards getting a ban of K2 implemented. The DEA, as of November 25, 2010, has exercised their emergency rights to classify K2 as a schedule I drug (which is the highest classification for illegal substances that have no purpose, as explained by Horvath) for at least one year for testing purposes, which can be extended up to 6 months. They have 30 days to file their paperwork and then the drug will be federally banned for at least a year. Once each municipality and agency has made some type of rule or law about K2, law enforcement can begin enforcing said rule.

Something to stress is that students should know what they are getting into before they ingest something like K2 or Four Loko. Know the risks and make an informed, educated decision—these drugs are not to be taken lightly.

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