Allen police: Kids using legal herbs to get high

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on June 2, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 3 at 10:22 AM

ALLEN — The legal herbs are sold as incense under a variety of names, including "K2," "Spice,", "Genie" and "Fire and Ice.

But police say young people who are buying the products are smoking them to get what some consider to be a stronger high than marijuana.

That's why police are issuing a warning to parents.

Getting K2 is easy and legal. On the back of the package it says: "Not for human consumption." But people — including kids — are smoking it and getting a high much more potent than marijuana, Allen police said. That's why police they want the product off the streets.

The department issued a citzen alert after 200 people complained about K2 being sold at an Allen hookah bar. "The law doesn't regulate this. You can sell this to anybody," said police spokesman Sgt. Jon Felty.

Allen patrol officers said they are seeing more and more K2 on the streets, including among underage kids.

K2 is a chemical compound sprayed on potpourri, tobacco or other organic materials and smoked. "Conceivably, any person of any age could buy this product, and that's a great concern," Felty said.

Tommy Blakeman, director of the Collin County Substance Abuse Program, said more than half of the students they see have either tried K2 or are using it regularly. A recent incident in Plano sent several students to the emergency room.

"They had done K2 at lunch, and were trying to be in class, and could not maintain their composure in class," Blakeman said.

Allen Police will meet with their City Council next week asking for help. "We're going to ask our City Council to adopt an ordinance to regulate the sale and possession of this product," Felty said.

Currently, only two states — Kansas and Kentucky — regulate the sale of K2 products. Police said one of the biggest concerns is that the long-term effects of smoking it are unknown.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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