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Synthetic pot linked to teen's drowning | Crime

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Synthetic pot linked to teen's drowning

Tampa, Florida - Sold as incense but smoked by some to get high, the synthetic marijuana chemicals found in products like K2, Spice and Incense are keeping specialists at Florida's Poison Information Center in Tampa busy.

"We have seen it in people as young as 13 and as old as in their 50's and 60's. It's not an age limit problem," says Dr. Cynthia Lewis-Younger.

The Pinellas County Medical Examiner's office autopsy report concludes a synthetic pot overdose is partly to blame for 19-year-old Logan Kushner's drowning in January. Clearwater Police say Logan started acting strangely after smoking herbal incense called Jazz at Clearwater's Kapok Park.  

Lewis-Younger says that's a common reaction. "A lot of agitation, fast heart rate, hallucinations can persist for days."

She adds there's the misconception if a product is legal, it's safe. "You don't know what you are getting. A lot of what you are getting is pretty poisonous."

Florida's governor recently signed a bill making the about 100 synthetic marijuana chemicals illegal. Florida is one of 40 states banning synthetic cannabinoids. But Dr. Lewis-Younger says that's only part of the solution.

"We have a serious, serious problem with the drug culture that permeates all society, not just the group using these drugs." This mother of three adopted children knows how drug abuse can impact a family. She says, "I almost lost my youngest son to an overdose a year ago."

She says the first step to drug abuse prevention starts at home as parents evaluate their own drug use. "Do you really need that prescription pain pill? Do you really need to have a fifth of whiskey every weekend? All drugs matter."

Dr. Lewis-Younger advises parents to lock up all prescription drugs, keep the 1-800-222-1222 number to the Poison Control Center programmed in your phone and if you suspect someone has used drugs, don't let them sleep it off. Call 911. 

The two synthetic marijuana chemicals found in Kushner's blood are AM-2201 and JWH-018. Both have been banned under a new state law.


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