San Antonio police, doctors concerned about 'growing' use of synthetic pot

Officials: Young people using ‘spice’ at increasingly higher rates

Author: Matt Rivers, Video Journalist, mrivers@ksat.com
Published On: Mar 26 2013 06:14:01 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 26 2013 06:31:27 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

The San Antonio Police Department said once again Tuesday that they continue to worry about synthetic pot use among teens, a message they’ve been pushing across for some time.

“Our calls for service on this issue continue to go up,” said Lt. Kevin Luzius, a narcotics commander at SAPD. “It flashes across our radar when we get tips on businesses selling the stuff.”

Synthetic marijuana has been illegal for a few years now, but Luzius said that hasn’t stalled sales in San Antonio.

“These businesses are making a lot of money selling this stuff illicitly,” said Luzius.

SAPD officials said those buying the drugs include an increasing amount of teenagers, some of whom may not know the consequences.

“We’ve seen people have seizures and go completely comatose after smoking some of this stuff,” said Dr. Miguel Fernandez, with the UT Health Science Center. “This synthetic material binds much stronger to the brain, in a way that the THC in normal marijuana doesn’t.”

That makes the effects of the drug up to 100 times stronger than regular marijuana, according to Fernandez.

He said while his emergency room hasn’t seen a huge increase in cases involving synthetic marijuana abuse, it can sometimes be hard to diagnose.

“The chemical formulas of these drugs can be changed so quickly by the manufacturers that some of our drug tests won’t pick them up,” said Fernandez.

SAPD urged parents to be vigilant and aware of the threats synthetic marijuana pose.

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