Fake Pot and Cocaine
New drugs of abuse are sending thousands of people
to emergency departments. They're called "fake pot",
"fake weed", and "fake cocaine", but their effects
are real and dangerous. Some users of these drugs
are ill for days - not at all what they expected.
Synthetic marijuana is called Spice, K2, and many
other names. It contains crumbly dried plant
material sprayed with chemicals that mimic the
active ingredients in marijuana. Sold as incense or
potpourri, it is neither - users smoke the material
as they would marijuana. Users can develop high
blood pressure, a very fast heart rate, vomiting,
seizures, and hallucinations. Deaths have been
No one yet knows exactly what is causing these
symptoms. The herbs or plant materials are unknown.
The chemicals being sprayed on them have never been
tested in humans. Since the drug is produced without
any kind of legal oversight, there is no quality
control; no one knows exactly what is being sprayed,
how concentrated it is, or whether it is
contaminated with other unknown substances. People
who smoke synthetic marijuana in effect are
subjecting themselves to unregulated, unsupervised
"Bath salts", "plant food", and "plant fertilizer"
are among the misleading names for another new type
of drug. These powders, meant to be swallowed or
snorted, are central nervous stimulants; their
effects are similar to cocaine and amphetamines.
Users can develop high blood pressure, fast heart
rate, paranoia, and severe, long-lasting panic
attacks. As with synthetic marijuana, users cannot
know exactly what they are getting when they buy and
use these drugs, which may contain variety of
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently
used emergency authority to place synthetic
marijuana on its list of Schedule 1 drugs, along
with heroin and cocaine. Legislation presented to
the U.S. Congress would make the ban permanent.
Several states have already introduced legislation
banning "bath salts".
If you have questions about "Spice", "K2", "bath
salts" or other drugs, call the poison center for
information at 1-800-222-1222. Call right away if
someone has used one of these misleadingly-named
drugs and is having symptoms. Poison center experts
are available 24 hours a day. All calls are