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There has been considerable speculation on the motive or cause of the Aurora, Colorado, shootings. But so far I have not seen an explanation that seems like a true cause to me. I have no inside information and I offer only speculation – but hear me out.
There has been a considerable rise in the use of synthetic marijuana among teens. The products which appear under the names like K2 or Spice are widely available on the streets and on the internet. The good news, but I caution the use of such a term, is that the chemical product produces a physical and mental reaction similar to marijuana and does not register a positive indication on most of the screening tests used by law enforcement or hospitals.
But the bad news is that teens are dying and are reporting nasty side effects that go beyond symptoms or effects associated with marijuana. The drugs seem in some cases to cause an advanced psychosis with delusions and incidents of suicide or violence toward others are reported. Does this sound like the Aurora scenario ?
The synthesized chemicals are designed to mimic the effect of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The possible problem is that HU-210, one of the active chemical compounds in the product may be 100 to 800 times more powerful than THC. None of the chemicals in the product are guaranteed safe for humans and the packaging carries a warning that the contents are not intended for human consumption.
Actions to make the product or its component chemicals illegal have begun. But the product is in wide distribution at this point. Synthetic cannabinoids are apparently more addictive than marijuana and chemicals remain in the user's body for a longer time. Good testing protocols are not yet available to provide simple tests for these drugs.
My connection of these drugs to the Aurora Shooter is hypothetical. But the similarities to reported incidents of violence with K2 or Spice are striking. And if I am correct, we may see more horrific violence without warning from users of these synthetic products.
Whatever happened to “better living through chemistry” ? I refer to a paraphrase of an old DuPont advertising slogan although I understand a movie of this title is in release this year. I have not seen the movie.
Another of the trendy designer drugs of a different class but similar effect is called “bath salts”. One of the difficulties in enforcement and protection of the public is that the complex chemical combinations which make them can be modified slightly by the maker to skirt the laws and create a new combination, not technically illegal. We are starting to see law enforcement designating the individual ingredients as schedule 1 controlled substances which are illegal.
These drugs, marketed to kids and teens, are dangerous, widely distributed, inexpensive, almost innocent sounding names and bright colored cartoon packaging, damaging and profoundly addictive. What could possibly go wrong ? As I say so often these days – WAKE UP AMERICA !
My thanks to Melanie Haiken for her excellent articles appearing on Forbes on line for some of my background information for this post. Take a look at her articles because they include symptoms presenting with users and descriptions of a number of the cases which have been identified with these drugs.
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