This article describes an epidemic among teenagers that isn’t occurring only in Mesa. One of the reasons why teens struggle so much to resist drugs like marijuana and spice is that they are so widely available in their schools, on their streets, and from their friends and acquaintances.
In the article, David Shuff, director of guidance for the Mesa Unified School District, noted that just a few years ago, alcohol was the most popular drug of choice of students. That has changed now, to marijuana, and its synthetic form known as spice.
David said: “We are seeing more marijuana than alcohol. A lot of that was fueled by spice. Synthetic drugs have become accessible enough that it’s probably in some ways easier for a kid to get spice than cigarettes … If a kid is busted for marijuana, it was probably spice. We’re seeing it used interchangeably.”
How does spice affect teens? Emergency room physicians are reporting a variety of symptoms, from hallucinations to elevated blood pressure, inability to speak, agitation, and the list goes on. Symptoms vary so widely because the ingredients in a batch of spice are unregulated and change as the manufacturers attempt to keep it in a “legal” form to sell over the counter as incense.
For additional information on drug use among teens (especially marijuana), click to the National Drug Control Policy Fact Sheet from 2011.