Kids using legal products to get a high... or a low

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by REBECCA LOPEZ / WFAA-TV

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

wfaa.com

Posted on February 22, 2010 at 10:28 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 22 at 11:34 PM

The newest ways for kids to get a high or a low are perfectly legal and easily accessible. But some experts say they could be precursors to more serious drugs.

Joey Slate, 15,  is a recovering drug user living at Phoenix House, a substance abuse rehabilitation center.  He knows what getting high feels like. That's why he thinks a new product called K2 is bad.

"It's like a substitute for marijuana," he said. "A lot of people smoke it to try and get a high off it."

Adults can walk into just about any head shop and buy K2.  News 8 did and paid about $25 for 3 ounces. 

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

"Any of the herbal substances are really dangerous," said Tony Peniston, a Phoenix House counselor. "There's been cases of people becoming toxic from them."

Children who have used it say if you try K2, marijuana and other drugs are next. 

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

Also on the market: Drank. It's a drink that is meant to relax people. 

The can says it will "slow your roll." But kids are using it as a substitute for an illegal mixture often called "Lean," a combination of cough syrup with codeine mixed with Sprite and Jolly Ranchers. 

Primo Marquez knows it well.  "That one really makes you drowsy, tired and sleepy," the 16-year-old said.

Asked for comment, Drank creator Peter Bianchi told News 8 in a written statement:

"We chose the name 'drank' and our slogan, 'slow your roll' because these popular phrases, heard in songs, on television and in every day speech, including Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas to Sex in the City to Beyonce are synonymous in modern vernacular for celebration and relaxation, respectively.

"In the beverage business, innovation is everything and there is room for numerous quirky drink brands. I conceived the idea for drank in the recording studio - we wanted something fun and hip that offered an alternative to the use of drugs and alcohol for relaxation. The name of the product is a play on the common slang, 'I’m going to get my ‘drank’ on.'

"While some fans, as well as critics, have compared drank to 'purple stuff,'  the product is in no way intended to mimic the illegal substance that some refer to as 'purple stuff, syrup, sizzurp, or lean' nor is the marketing behind Drank™ geared towards enticing young people with illegal drug references. Innovative Beverage Group does not condone the illicit combination of cough syrup with codeine and soda, nor do we encourage anyone to try it.”

The teens we talked to in rehab say even though the products are not marketed to kids, it's what kids are using when they can't get their hands on the illegal stuff.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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