Alive with Brain Damage: Synthetic Drug Use


“Teen narrowly escapes death after smoking synthetic marijuana,” is the CNN headline. This story’s happy ending is that she is alive, but it is marred by the fact that 70% of her brain is dead.

Emily ended up in the hospital after smoking synthetic marijuana. Not a drug she purchased from a shady drug dealer on a dark corner. She bought it at a gas station. It is legal.

Synthetic DrugsEmily is not the only person to end up in the hospital from synthetic drug use. There were 11,406 synthetic drug-related emergency department visits in 2010, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Report. The largest portion of that number were 12 – 17 year old kids. And that number is rising.

Known commonly as K2 or Spice this drug gives teens a similar feeling to smoking marijuana. And it’s legal. It’s sold at gas stations, convenience stores and is easily obtainable on the internet. So what could be wrong with it? It is laced with chemicals that can be life threatening. Or in Emily’s case cause severe brain damage. Read more about this drug on CNN Health.

Please sit down with your teens and tweens tonight. Read the CNN article together. Show them the slide show at the top of the article. If they are on Facebook, have them “like” the S.A.F.E. (Synthetic Awareness for Emily) page. Read over the page with them. There are many, many stories. The best defense is a good offense. And our parental offense is knowledge and conversation.

Think your teen is using? What to look for.

Thank you to Suzette from Mamarazzi Knows Best for sharing the CNN story on Facebook. If you have tweens or teens, check out her site.