This week, Laurie Delong, Director at Phoenix House Academy of Austin, weighed in on a dangerous new trend among teenagers and young adults. MyFox News in Austin, TX reported on the marijuana-like drug called K-2. Being sold as incense, K-2 is a legal substance that teens are saying produces the same kind of high as smoking marijuana, although it also causes a variety of other effects including panic attacks, seizures, vomiting, numbness and anxiety. Since January, over 200 instances of exposure to K-2 have been reported by Texas Poison Control Centers. Several cities in Texas have banned the sale of K-2 in an effort to stop the growing number of incidents, fining businesses selling K-2 up to $2,000; Cedar Park (near Austin) will vote on September 23rd if they will add their name to the list of Texas cities enforcing the ban.
Laurie DeLong warns, “Kids don’t realize the danger in the effect [of K-2]. If something is said to be ‘legal,’ they have a false sense of security that it’s safe to use.” When asked about whether the drug shows up in drug screening tests, she informs that while it hasn’t shown up in the regular testing that many facilities use, probation departments and other drug testing facilities are beginning to implement alternative tests that can detect the drug. Her fear is that, if the drug remains legal to use, many teens – and even their parents – might think that K-2 is a less risky alternative to marijuana, even though its physiological effects are just as serious. Ms. DeLong supports the ban of the sale of K-2 saying, “We need to protect our teens. Our children need to know that we will stand up and protect them – we don’t expect them to have to make these decisions on their own.”
To read the article or watch the MyFox Austin newsclip, please click here.