Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Terrifying Side Effects of Synthetic Marijuana

Health professionals never like to show the terrifying effects that drugs can and will eventually have on a person, but it is a necessary evil in order to warn others of the dangers and convince them to stop. There have been many campaigns published and marketed over the years that use frightening pictures of weight loss, or tooth decay, or tumors; all of those campaigns were meant to show just exactly how scary drug use and addiction can be. The newest push to show the dangers of synthetic marijuana, however, are not a campaign, it is the true story 17 year old Emily Bauer, as told by her family and loved ones. You see, after experimenting with some synthetic marijuana that the teen bought legally at a gas station, she is blind, brain damaged, paralyzed, and likely will not ever speak again.

It all started in December of this past year. When Emily and some friends went to a local gas station and purchased a small packet of "Klimax Potpourri," a name brand for a blend of potpourri that is marketed as a "legal smoking alternative to  marijuana." They returned home, and the teens smoked a small amount each of the drug. While most showed signs of intoxication that could be compared to that of marijuana use, Emily quickly developed a migraine, within fifteen minutes of smoking the drug. The side effects of the synthetic marijuana increased dramatically within a small space of time, and Emily told her boyfriend that she wasn't feeling well, and was going to lay down for a while.

Emily Bauer Before the Drug-Induced Strokes -- Courtesy CNN
It only took a few minutes for Emily's friends to become worried about her, and when they went into the room to check on her, they found her in the middle of a psychotic episode, thrashing violently and urinating on herself. Thinking that she was just "freaking out," or having a bad trip from spice drugs, friends tried to calm her down. Her friends did not realize that Emily had suffered from two separate strokes; caused by the extreme dilation of her blood vessels as the drugs entered her bloodstream. This extreme dilation caused the blood flow to her brain to narrow and finally become completely stopped. The lack of oxygen to her brain next caused hallucinations, sending her into a violent panic.

When friends found Emily in the midst of her K2 overdose, they immediately called police and paramedics; police were needed to hold Emily down, through her psychotic state, and make sure she made it safely to the hospital. Once at the hospital, doctors quickly realized that Emily had had two strokes, and began treating her for the strokes. At first, doctors and Emily's family were hopeful that everything would be okay... That the hallucinations would stop, and she would come down from the drug and be back to normal.

Emily Bauer After  -- Courtesy of CNN
3 months later... Emily Bauer never "came down" from the drugs. She is now partially paralyzed, blind, and has severe brain damage that leaves even the simplest tasks difficult.

Emily's parents had no idea she was smoking "legal marijuana." They had caught Emily smoking real marijuana on a few occasions, and had done their parental duties to try and deter her from its use. Emily stopped smoking illegal drugs, but had decided to try this legal alternative to marijuana sold in stores instead.

Obviously distraught by the entire situation, Emily's parents are on a mission to let other parents know about this dangerous drug. Her parents had never heard of K2 or Spice, or other synthetic drugs before that night when Emily suffered her strokes. Now, they have heard of many studies and other teens that have had their lives ruined by the drugs, and Emily's parents simply want to know how it is that this drug can be sold legally in stores.

For now, Emily is making slow progress; and, while she is expected to survive, she has a long path of recovery ahead of her, and she will never recover 100%. The hope is, that Emily's story will make its rounds across the news, and inform parents of the very real dangers posed by this drug, and the rampant availability of it. There are many drug addiction treatment and counseling programs for synthetic marijuana around the country, and these addiction specialists are seeing a high rise in the cases of spice addiction and overdoses. With Emily's story now coming to light, it is essential for parents to be knowledgeable about this drug and its effects. As we now see, this is a powerful and dangerous drug, and parents and children alike need to be warned of the consequences of its use.

For detailed information on Spice, K2, and other synthetic drugs and legal substances, please visit drugrehab.us for our literature for parents and children.

***Photos Courtesy of CNN**

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