Just when you got used to hearing about the synthetic drug K2 or 'incense' and how it's dangerous and being banned in most states ... now attention is on another version called K4.
Diana Lauzon is the Rushville mother of two teenagers. So when she heard about a new drug called K4 being sold locally, she was concerned to say the least.
Lauzon said, "I was furious to find out it was being sold in my local gas station. I didn't know much about it but then I heard it was in my hometown and that scared me."
K4 is marketed as incense. But in reality it's a sort of synthetic marijuana. And it's easy to get because its sold over the counter.
Lauzon said, "It's cheaper than pot, it gives kids a high like pot, and it doesn't show up in a urine test. That's the lure of people choosing this over marijuana. It's getting into the wrong hands and kids are smoking it."
Parents have a right to worry. That's the word from Ashley Hoener an outpatient counselor at Recovery Resources in Quincy. She says numbers of people on these types of drugs are on the rise in the Tri-States. She says although only K2 is illegal, K4 packs a similar punch.
Hoener said, "Some of the symptoms are hallucinations, vomiting, increased heart rate and increased blood pressure." The thing is we don't know the long term effects of these drugs. They've only been around for a handful of years and so they haven't been around long so the long term effects are unclear at this point."
That's why moms like Lauzon are hoping to do their part to protect kids.
Lauzon said, "Asking lawmakers to remove K4 from our shelves is one way to make our environment safer."
Illinois passed a ban on K2 this past weekend, but variances of the substance get around the law. Some makers get around it by reformulating the mixtures.
When Lauzon found out K4 was a problem in her community she posted info about it to her Facebook page and asked her mom friends if they knew about it ... the response was that they are getting wind of it but they don't know what it is or how dangerous it is.
As with any drug use, experts say parents should watch for changes in their children's behavior. That includes being more secretive or refusing to talk.
Also note smells around the house.
You should also watch for unusual items like small plastic Q-tip and gum containers, which are used to store the drug. Other things like deodorizers and Visine could be used to cover the side effects.
We talked with Illinois State Senator John Sullivan Tuesday as well.
He says while K2 and bath salts are illegal, it's hard for the laws banning them to keep up with the changing drug cocktails like K4.
Sullivan said, "As the public becomes more and more familiar with this problem, that makes our job easier. In other words, it makes it easier to garner support for legislation if we need to look at banning something or do something to correct this problem."
He suggests contacting lawmakers if you have concerns to show your support.
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