March 2014

Substance Abuse Awareness

by Randy Ziegenfuss on March 9, 2014

No Drugs SymbolThis post, written by Katie Griffith, was submitted by Katrina Sparozic, SAP Liaison for the Center for Humanistic Change, to promote awareness in parents of current issues in substance abuse. If you have questions about this topic or other topics related to student substance abuse, reach out to your school principal or Student Assistance Program (SAP) team.

Synthetic marijuana is a designer drug in which herbs, incense or other leafy materials are sprayed with lab-synthesized liquid chemicals to mimic the effect of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in the naturally grown marijuana plant. Synthetic marijuana is ingested in a similar manner to cannabis. Synthetic marijuana is either smoked in a joint or devices like a pipe or a bong. It can be rolled into a joint with tobacco or natural marijuana. Synthetic marijuana may also be baked into foods, such as brownies, or made into tea.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has designated the five active chemicals most frequently found in Spice as Schedule I controlled substances, making it illegal to sell, buy, or possess them. However, as the DEA bans various substances the manufacturers substitute different chemicals in their mixtures to get around the law.

Physical signs of use

  • Loss of control
  • Lack of pain response
  • Increased agitation
  • Pale skin
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Profuse sweating
  • Uncontrolled / spastic body movements
  • Elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and palpitations


Users report elevated mood, relaxation, and altered perception—and in some cases the effects are even stronger than those of marijuana. Some users report psychotic effects like extreme anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. Effects can last between 1 and 8 hours.

Street Names for Synthetics: You will often hear girls discuss having “tea parties” which are when they are abusing synthetics to cover it up around adults. Other names include: Spice, K-2, Blazed, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, fake weed, Genie, Cush, Bliss, Ninja, Voodoo Wet, Cloud 10, Diamond, Spaced Out, Aztec Warrior, Dreamsmoke, Bayou Blaster, Stimulus, Agent M, Comatose Candy, Wicked X. Courtesy of Pyramid Healthcare, Inc.