What it Looks Like in Tippecanoe County
When spice first hit the market in Tippecanoe County, it was sold legally under various brand names in local convenience stores and tobacco shops. It was marketed as a natural herbal incense or potpurri and labeled, "not for human consumption," although many purchasing it knew that it could be smoked for a high. Brand names included K2, Spice, Dracula, Kryptonite, Black Mamba, Scooby Snacks, etc.
Spice was legal in all 50 states until March 2010, and it was banned in Indiana in July 2011. Tippecanoe County and the cities of Lafayette and West Lafayette had all established ordinances against its sale or possession by October 2010. Gradually after this point, users began purchasing spice the was manufactured locally, often in the home of Tippecanoe County residents. This "homemade" form looks a lot like marijuana and is often similarly packaged in plastic baggies. The smell of spice is however distinct from the smell of marijuana. More recently, with the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes, users can also vape a liquid form of synthetic marijuana, using the e-cigarette to mask that they are using spice.
What Parents Should Know about Spice, aka "Legal" or "Synthetic Marijuana"
- It is addictive
- One time use is dangerous and can lead to death.
- Spice is one of over 500 street names for a mix of herbs or other shredded plant materials that have been sprayed with active ingredients to produce a high.
- Spice is often called "synthetic marijuana" or "fake weed" because some of the chemicals used attach to the same brain cell receptors as THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, but the effects are not the same as those of marijuana.
- There are at least 700 different known chemicals used as the "active ingredients" in spice, making it impossible for users to know what they are actually smoking. Because these chemicals change constantly, the side effects from one use to another can be very different.
- Spice has been viewed by many teens and adults to be a safe alternative to marijuana. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Spice's effects are rarely like that of marijuana and are often closer to the psychoactive effects of PCP.
- Psychoactive effects include the feeling of being out of control (a kind of brain-body disconnect), agitation, combativeness, profuse sweating, paranoia, intense cravings, vomiting, and psychotic episodes including hallucinations.
- Treatment for spice addiction is similar to that of other drugs.
For information about local treatment options, click here.
For additional information about spice, go to the National Institute on Drug Abuse