Questions Surround Effectiveness of Texas K2 Ban on Teenage Use

Monday, April 16th, 2012


Landon describes his close call with K2 as something that he would not want to relive.

“My tonsils were swollen and I couldn’t breathe.

The synthetic substance, that is incense mimics marijuana when smoked. Landon had to be taken to the hospital.

“They said they hadn’t seen anything like this before.”

The 16-year old is a recovering addict. He says he also abused other drugs, but used K2 to dodge drug testing while on probation. He says despite a statewide ban, he never found it difficult to find a retail shop willing to sell something that produced a K2 high.

“These shops would sell the stuff using different names, so when it was banned they just came up with a different name and that is how we got our hands on it.”

That easy access to the illegal substance comes despite a ban put in place last September by Texas Lawmakers. Some members of the legislature hoped the ban would make the dangerous incense less available to youngsters, but some drug counselors say it has not worked to decrease addiction rates in some centers.

“I think it is a good statement to the community that this is a real concern, but as far as impeding usage, it didn’t slow the teens down,” Howard Lindsay, Program Director at Phoenix House in Dallas, said.

Lindsay says he has not seen a dip in the popularity of K2 among the center’s young clients since the ban took hold.

“When you ask a large group of kids in the treatment program, if they have used K2 almost every one raised their hand and that was true before the ban and that is still true today.”

Experts believe besides covert retail sales, teenagers may also be getting the substance on the internet at sites where there are often few questions asked.

As for Landon, he is confident that he will defeat his demons, including K2.

“My advice for others is that they not use it.”

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