As many of you know, public safety is one of the cornerstones of my vision for a safer, vibrant community in Bakersfield. That is why I am taking the issue of “Spice” or “Bath Salts” so seriously, these illicit drugs have no place in our community. I have found that in speaking with people in Ward 7 and other parts of Bakersfield, they often only have a vague understanding of what these drugs are. This post will be a resource, linking to facts so that you can better educate yourself to the dangers of Spice and Bath Salts.
What is Spice? What are Bath Salts?
First and foremost, this is not a “dumb” question. Some people are under the assumption that kids are buying packages of Bath Salts from Bed Bath and Beyond and ingesting them. The terms Spice, K2, Bath Salts, and synthetic marijuana are slang for synthetic cannabinoid products. From the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
“Spice” refers to a wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences similar to marijuana (cannabis) and that are marketed as “safe,” legal alternatives to that drug. Sold under many names, including K2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and others — and labeled “not for human consumption” — these products contain dried, shredded plant material and chemical additives that are responsible for their psychoactive (mind-altering) effects.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has issued an alert related to the the surge in cases related to Synthetic Marijuana (over 1500 cases in April, as opposed to 359 cases in January of 2015… a huge spike). New York is reporting a surge in hospitalizations from the use of Spice.
How does spice effect the body and mind?
“Common reactions include a fast heart rate, increased blood pressure, muscle spasms, severe agita- tion, hallucinations, clenched muscles, tremors, nausea and vomiting., and seizures “What makes it so dangerous is all the chemicals that are put into the illegal substance,” said Dr. Young. “No one knows how they will react to it until they try it. Unfortunately, because the chemicals in this synthetic drug are 100 times greater than what’s in marijuana, it can lead to irregular heartbeat, palpitations and occasion- ally cardiac death, seizures or brain death.” Young said Spice has more in common with PCP than marijuana. “The side effects are much more harmful than marijuana… I would say it’s more like PCP in the sense of what it can do to the body, and that’s a drug we don’t see much of and we don’t want to, but that’s the best one to compare it to.” PCP causes auditory hallucinations, image distortion, severe mood disorders and amnesia—similar effects experienced by Spice users.”
Who is using Spice?
Spice is popular among adolescent boys, primarily between 8th and 12th grade. In this range about one in 20 high school students polled said they had used Spice during 2014. Compare that to one in 30 adults aged 19 to 28 who used the substances in 2013. It is easy to see why the drugs are marketed in packaging depicting cartoon characters and bright colors, or packaging resembling candy. Children are the target sales demographic for this drug!
I hope you have found this information to be helpful in understanding how dangerous these drugs are and how they have no place in Bakersfield.