The Valdosta Daily Times
Spice, White Rush, Cloud Nine, Herbal Madness Incense, Ocean Snow, Hurricane Charlie, and now Crazy Clown — all forms of synthetic drugs. These manufactured substances are designed to give the user the same “high” as illegal drugs, but in a quasi-legal form that supposedly goes undetected by routine drug tests.
States have been banning the substances from being sold, but others come in right behind them, formula tweaked just enough to be a new substance. Authorities cannot keep up with the manufacturers, but are doing their best to alert potential users of the side effects of these drugs.
On Friday, the news that eight people in Brunswick had to be hospitalized after ingesting Crazy Clown, a synthetic marijuana, hit the airwaves with a bang. Shared more than 400 times from The Valdosta Daily Times Facebook page alone, stories appeared across the country about the dangers of the drug. Store owners were asked to pull the products off their shelves, but as of Monday, authorities are still unsure if the substance is legal or illegal.
These altered substances have been around for several years, with tales of hospitalizations, organ failure and deaths attributed to them. Yet despite the warnings, teens and young adults continue experimenting with the drugs. Their use among high school and college-age youth is as pervasive as experimentation with alcohol.
Outlawing real or synthetic drugs, imposing age limits on the purchase of alcohol and tobacco products, has not stopped their use. Education, DARE programs and continued awareness in the media may help to prevent some of the abuse, but until America comes to terms with its drug culture, expect to see public-health warnings on the latest substances continue.