New research from the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) out of the University of Maryland shows that teens across the country are using their own bodies for experimentation with new chemicals in the form of synthetic marijuana. A recent report by CESAR found the following statistics for the top three most abused substances by adolescents:
- 57 percent of high school students use alcohol
- 39 percent of high school students use marijuana
- 12 percent of high school students use synthetic marijuana
Synthetic drugs are a recent phenomenon and have quickly risen to the top three position for the most abused drugs by teens in the US. Chemists working illegally make these drugs, and they simply change the chemical composition of a substance when law enforcement and/or legislation identify them. These chemicals have never been tested on humans and the repercussions of their use are unknown to modern science. This means, in essence, the teens abusing these drugs are human subjects in an unsupervised experiment. This reality is frightening to parents, educators, police, healthcare professionals, and legislators alike.
Government Moved to Ban Synthetic Marijuana Last Year
Although it is hard to outlaw a substance that is constantly changing its chemical structure, the Obama administration attempted to do so last summer. President Obama signed a law that banned chemicals linked to the production of synthetic marijuana and bath salts.
These drugs are potentially lethal and were sold openly in convenience stores and online before last year’s legislation was signed. Sales of the drugs are now illegal, although many skirt the law by changing the chemical composition to stay technically on the right side of the law. The drug consists of herbs treated with a chemical substance that is designed to imitate the effects of marijuana. The consumers cannot tell what is actually on the herbs and, in the event of a medical problem, doctors would be taking a wild guess at how to treat the patient because every batch has a different composition of active ingredients.
Experts Worry Medical Marijuana Will Make Synthetic Marijuana More Popular
Now that marijuana is being accepted in many states as a medicinal plant and two states have legalized its recreational use, experts worry this may make synthetic marijuana seem like a safer option. The problem is that every batch of this drug is so different, it is a game of Russian roulette every time it is used. The CESAR report summed it up best by saying, “Youth who report using synthetic marijuana likely have no idea what specific synthetic cannabinoid they are using or what the effects will be.”
If your son or daughter is abusing synthetic drugs, they are not safe. Contact us at Newport Academy to learn more about the effects of synthetic substances, how to identify a chronic problem in your teen, and the rehabilitation and treatment services that can help him or her to get back on track.