Synthetic marijuana makes appearance on campus

MAEGAN MITCHELL
Senior Writer

State laws have been passed against synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 and by other names, but it has continued to pop up locally.

KC student Bradley Q. Fields, Lubbock freshman, was recently ticketed by the KC Police Department for possession of K2 and was banned from campus housing.

“[K2] is getting to be a problem. Since you can’t identify it on a drug test, I really don’t know for sure,” Chief Heath Cariker said.

Cariker added that KCPD has only had one incident this semester.

“The custodian that cleans up around Stark Hall and the Quads brought it to my attention that he had found a lot of empty K2 packets in and around the trash cans and parking lots,” Lt. Tony Means said.

Means believes it is steadily becoming more of an issue on campus.

Synthetic marijuana was added to the Texas Controlled Substances Act in September 2011.

Before being outlawed, K2 could be purchased in most area smoke shops. K2 is banned not only by city ordinance, but also by state law.

According to the Texas Penal Code, under Sec. 481.1161, possession of synthetic marijuana can result in criminal charges ranging from a Class B misdemeanor to a felony of the first degree, depending on the amount found.

The effects of synthetic marijuana were first reported in 2009 and steadily became more frequent.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Center’s website, “synthetic drugs can be extremely dangerous and addictive. Health effects from drugs can be life threatening and can include:

• Severe agitation and anxiety

• Fast, racing heartbeat and [high] blood pressure

• Muscle spasms, seizures and tremors

• Intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes and

• Suicidal and other harmful thoughts/actions.”

If you or someone you know experiences one or more of these symptoms while taking K2, contact your local poison control as soon as possible. All poison control centers are open 24-hours.

If you witness someone stop breathing, collapse or have a seizure after using synthetic marijuana, call 911 immediately.

The AAPCC website also states that synthetic drugs are sold as a legal way to get high.
Popularity in these drugs rose quickly as they are virtually undetectable on drug tests.

According to the AAPCC website, 2,028 exposures have been reported to a poison control center from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse website states synthetic marijuana can be sold as potpourri and is most commonly ingested through smoking.

Through false advertising, many have fallen victim to believing this is a healthy, legal substitute.

KCPD has made it clear that they will be enforcing the zero-tolerance policy on campus.

“Kilgore College is a drug-free campus. K2, and any drug for that matter, will not be tolerated,” KC Officer Brant Prestidge said.