DEA plans to ban 5 chemicals used to make K2

K2

Credit: WFAA

Sold under a variety of names like "K2," the legal herb sold as incense is being smoked by some young people to get high.

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on November 24, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 24 at 8:41 PM

DALLAS - The federal government is cracking down on synthetic marijuana with a plan from the Drug Enforcement Administration in the works to ban five chemicals used to make K2.   

K2 is a mixture of herbs and spices sprayed with a chemical similar to THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes people high.

In February, WFAA interviewed 15-year-old Joey Slate, a recovering drug user.

"It's like a substitute for marijuana," Slate said of the product that is advertised as incense. "Like, a lot of people smoke it to try and get high off it."

The DEA has become concerned after a rash of reports of people becoming sickened after smoking the product. WFAA recently reported on the illnesses of two users who were treated at Children's Medical Center. Both complained of serious chest pains and heart palpitations. One suffered a heart attack.

"We are theorizing something in K2 caused the arteries to spasm, causing blockage of blood flow temporarily to his heart," said Dr. Colin Kane, a pediatric cardiologist who treated both cases.
 
The DEA is hoping to ban the chemicals within the next 30 days. Many states and cities across the country have already banned the product from being sold. It's already illegal in the City of Dallas, and police have made some arrests.

Not only are there health concerns, but children who use it report craving harder drugs.

"After a while, it's not going to hit you," Slater said. "So, you are going to want to get something stronger."

There have been reports of overdoses, suicides, hallucinations and seizures. In the hopes to make it harder to get, the DEA wants to classify K2 as a dangerous drug in the same category as heroin and cocaine.

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