More and more Southern Californians are turning to a dangerous new drug, and parents are livid that it remains legal even as it sends teens to the hospital with terrifying health effects, CBS2 Los Angeles reports in the video above.
"Spice," also known as "K2" or "potpourri," is a synthetic marijuana made from fertilizer from China, mixed with lettuce leaves. The drug, five times more powerful than marijuana, causes agitation, confusion, hallucinations, vomiting and, in some cases, heart attacks and even comas, according to CBS2.
Two Orange County teens were using it regularly until they both ended up in the hospital. Cyrus Read, 17, was brought to the emergency room, drooling and incoherent. Another teen, who said she was addicted to spice, went to the ER “couldn’t move for three hours," was “semi-paralyzed” and vomiting, while experiencing hallucinations and paranoia, her mother told CBS2.
Orange County is at the center of an "epidemic," with warehouses manufacturing the drug throughout Orange County, from San Juan Capistrano to Newport Beach to Anaheim, according to Homeland Security.
But no arrests have been made because every time the DEA labels a chemical compound in spice an illegal controlled substance, the manufacturers in China replace it with another compound that is equally as harmful. Authorities also have to prove that it was sold with the intent to consume it, which is difficult because the drug is labeled “potpourri” with a “not for human consumption" sticker.
Agents fear the profits may be used to fund other countries that wish to harm the US. Watch CBS2's video above or head over to CBS2's website to see where the drug money is headed.
Synthetic marijuana, which has been banned in other states, reportedly played a role in several recent crimes involving youth. Tucker Cipriano, a Detroit teen reportedly high on spice, allegedly beat his father to death and attacked his mother and one of his brothers with a baseball bat. Another Detroit teen was found dead at a private beach after a reported overdose of K2.
In addition to being available at gas stations and smoke shops, spice can be easily be bought online. The drug, which is illegal in Britain, Germany, Poland and France, can be bought in the US -- $35 for three grams -- with nothing more than a PayPal account or credit card online.