Clients and staff of the Boys Recovery Lodge, a program at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic that serves adolescents experiencing problems due to their use of alcohol and/or other substances, recently attended forums organized by the DC Prevention Center for Wards 5 and 6 in partnership with other associations such as the Goethe Institute and Edgewood Terrace I Residence Association Inc. These forums focused on community discussions about synthetic substance in general, and on how spice (K2) is affecting young people across the District of Columbia.
A lot of the neighborhood residents knew very little about K2, and were really surprised to hear how widespread its use is and how many problems it is causing. Some of our clients shared their own use histories and their perspectives, and were asked to participate to a panel discussion.
According to data from the 2011 Monitoring the Future survey of youth drug-use trends, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse recently in the last year, 11.4 percent of 12th graders -one in nine- admitted using synthetic marijuana in the past year, making it the most commonly used illicit drug after marijuana between high school seniors.
“Spice” is often marketed as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana and sellers assert that it contains “natural” plant material. Spice products do contain dried plant material, but are mixed with synthetic chemicals similar to THC, which is the active ingredient of marijuana. Health effects of synthetic marijuana include elevated blood pressure, seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, extreme nervousness, agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and tachycardia. As chemicals contained in spice products are often unknown, effects may be different and unexpected for some users, and in some cases even life-threatening.
The DC Prevention Center for Wards 5 & 6 is a collaborative venture in conjunction with the Department of Health (DOH), Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration (APRA), and Sasha Bruce Youthwork. Their mission is to support a healthy and drug free District of Columbia where all children are safe, drug free and connected and supported by a network of caring families, community organizations, and faith-based organizations.
The event organizers, including some city politicians, were thrilled to have clients and staff of Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic present at these forums, and want to explore ongoing ways to be involved in our programming, and keep our youth coming back to their events. Our clients were pleased to help educate the community, as this is such an essential step to prevent spice consumption among teens.
Find out more about programs and services at Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic, or call us today at: 1 888 671 9392.