The availability of legal drugs has become not only a national problem, but a local one as well. Sniffing and smoking toxic substances to get high has become a way for teens to get high without parents and authorities knowing about it.
“People are buying it for legitimate reasons, however, it has come to light that it gives them a high. That’s when they use it for purposes not intended by the manufacturer. Parents need to be educated and vigilant when it comes to their kids and these substances. "Be aware of any noticeable behavior changes,” said Grove Police Chief, Mark Morris.
“Kids are using cigar blunts to stuff incense and other types of substances such as potpourri into and smoke,” said Grove Police Detective Sergeant John Morrow.
“It’s legal weed that’s one million times worse then weed. Weed isn’t as bad. This stuff is scary,” said a local high school student.
“Don’t get caught up in either,” he suggests after a couple bad experiences after experimenting with incense.
“It’s especially bad when mixed with alcohol. It made me incredibly sick at first, and then the high wore off and leaves you in a fog. The fog lasts a long time,” explained the student as he described his experience.
“I started hallucinating. One time when I was sitting at a campfire, I thought I saw wolves. Another time, I was standing outside my truck, but thought I was inside,” he said.
In the last few months Grove EMS has seen several patients under the influence of these drugs.
“The way they behave is similar to PCP. They have no sensibility of themselves. They are non-responsive and have non-human strengths. It’s crazy once you see someone on this stuff,” said Supervisor, Larry Rice, Grove EMS.
“We have no way to treat it. We don’t have an antidote. It decreases the effects of normal drugs that we use,” said Jeff Dozier, Director, Grove EMS.
“It’s a gateway drug to weed. It’s very dangerous. I know people who started with incense and are now hooked on weed,” he said.
“MIA, Swag, SYN and incense are just a few of the names used for the leafy like substance that looks like weed or basil,” said the student.
According to sources, “legal pot” along with Bath Salts is available at several places near Grove.
“I’ve seen it purchased at Flashbacks, the Filling Station and other places around here,” said the student.
“You are supposed to be 18 but I have never been carded,” he added.
“If anyone knows of it being sold in the corporate city limits, we would want to be notified so we can keep track of it,” said Chief Morris. Morris stated that as of right now, they are not aware of any locations selling the substances within the city limits.
“Bath Salts are a new drug trend among teens who like to experiment with legal ways to get high according to the Chicago-Sun Times. These powders are sending drug abusers to emergency rooms around the country after snorting, smoking or injecting them,” stated Drug Prevention Specialist, Chuck Pearce, CPS in an e-mail blast he sends out to supporters of GroveCan.
“According to law enforcement agents and poison control centers, the bath salts, sold under names like Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning and Hurricane Charlie, can cause extreme paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, rapid hear rate, chest pain and suicidal thoughts. The effects of using the powders can be as powerful as those of cocaine and methamphetamine,” Pearce stated.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAHSA) indicates that 12-year old kids are more likely to get high from common, legal household substances including aerosol computer cleaners, air fresheners, hair spray or shoe polish than use cigarettes or marijuana.
National drug use surveys by SAMHSA between 2006 and 2008 indicate that just under seven percent of 12 year olds have used inhalants to get high.