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Synthetic Drug Dangers

 Teens and young adults across the nation risk permanent brain damage from legal synthetic substitutes for marijuana and cocaine.

Medical and law enforcement officials across the nation are attempting to learn more about the effects and dangers of synthetic drugs commonly known as “K2” and “bath salts” as their use and availability continues to be a problem even though many of the substances in them have already been banned in many states. These synthetic drugs are often sold to teenagers who are not fully aware of the dangers they pose, especially to young developing brains of those under the age of 21. Although some of the synthetic drugs have banned nationwide, it doesn't mean they're unavailable and chemists are producing new compounds faster than lawmakers can ban them. A huge part of the problem is that the medical community really has no idea what the compounds will do to people long-term, and anyone who uses them is essentially conducting a dangerous human experiment on themselves. Unfortunately for many American teens, the results of these experiments are often permanent brain damage.

Some states have created emergency legislation to halt the sale of the toxic mixtures sold by tobacco shops, convenience stores and other retailers as legal ways to get high. Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi has worked with state legislators to ban these "legal" drugs in her state and has successfully banned some 92 separate compounds in the last year alone, but the drug manufacturers have responded by simply changing the chemical structures to get around the new laws. By the end of 2012, 45 different states and Puerto Rico had banned one or both of the categories known as "synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones," but new compounds keep popping up and they are still marketed under well-known names like “spice, K-2 and bath salts.” The drugs are said to have effects similar to marijuana or cocaine, but they are far more dangerous because they can also cause hallucinations, paranoia and long-term psychotic episodes. Speaking directly about the problem in Florida, Attorney General Bondi said “Synthetic drugs are wreaking havoc on Floridians, particularly on our youth, and I will do everything in my power to outlaw these extremely dangerous drugs.”

The recent case of a 17-year-old girl in Cypress, Texas who was injured after smoking synthetic marijuana is particularly disturbing because the otherwise healthy teen was severely disabled after smoking the product she purchased from a local gas station. Emily Bauer was left brain damaged, blind and paralyzed after a single session of smoking synthetic marijuana and suffering a series of strokes that doctors say resulted in around 70% of her brain being considered ‘dead.’ It is a matter of extreme importance that American teenagers know just how dangerous these chemicals can be, and many groups and organizations are springing up around the country to help spread the word. It would be wise for anyone considering experimentation with these dangerous drugs to look further into the well-documented damage they have already caused in every area of the country today. To say these drugs are dangerous is an understatement of the largest proportions imaginable, and risking permanent brain damage or insanity is not a good choice for anyone, especially teenagers.

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