CRITTENDEN COUNTY, Ark. — Authorities in Crittenden County are telling parents to watch out for K-2, Spice and other synthetic drugs that are known as "fake weed."
The Arkansas State Crime Lab urged law enforcement leaders to be on the lookout for synthetic cannabinoids. The human-made mind altering chemicals are either sprayed or dried on shredded material so that it can be smoked or sold as a liquid that's then vaped or used in e-cigarettes.
"It's pretty prevalent. It can be bought at any of the convenience stores. It can be bought pretty much anywhere," Crittenden County Sheriff's Department Chief Todd Grooms said. He says producers know their clientele believes it will give them the same high as marijuana or other drugs. But the Center for Disease Control says synthetic cannabinoids affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana.
The effects include nausea, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations and seizures.
The Arkansas State Crime Lab says they recently processed evidence with vape liquids called "Kentucky Route Strawberry Fields" and "Galaxy Additive" that were found to contain synthetic cannbinoids that resulted in deaths in the state.
"The biggest concern that we have with vaping with other products and ingredients and stuff is that if you inhale that in greater concentrations in your lungs you always run the risk of an allergic or asmatic reaction, which can be fatal," Dr. Mark Castellaw, the Medical Director at BMG Medical Group, said.
According to the Center for Disease Control, Spice has been in the U.S. for the last decade or so.
Chief Grooms says the reason it's so relevant is due to the problems that come with regulation. "Once the laws are enacted that this product is illegal they either change the makeup of the product or the packaging, which puts it right back in the legal realm. Then we've got to combat it from a different angle."
The Arkansas State Crime Lab says the Center for Disease Control has reported hundreds of overdoses related to K-2 and Spice across the country.