Let’s take this drug off our streets

Michelle Berry, A Fresh PerspectiveLast week’s Borger City Council meeting turned out to be more of an educational experience than I expected. It opened my eyes to new information of which I wasn’t aware, and made me want to do all I can to help a particular cause.In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, this new information came to light during the public forum time of the meeting when local citizen and mom April Gibbs spoke to the council about almost losing her son after he attempted to take his own life while under the influence of a drug known as K2. She pleaded with the council to help her take action to get this drug off the streets of Borger.Being a tenderhearted person, my heart broke for her as she shared her story with them. I truly believe the tears coming out of her eyes were for real. It made me want to hear more, and boy, did I learn a lot.After she shared her story and asked for the council to act, council member Brandy Callahan assured her that she has been working on this issue. She did tell Gibbs that it would take time to get a concrete law passed here in Borger, but that it is a priority for the council to get this done. All of the council members pledged their support to Gibbs’ cause, and encouraged her to get out and educate the community about the dangers of this drug.I decided to look into this drug further, and found out that while it is known as K2 and Spice most commonly, it also has several street or slang names, which include Bliss, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Blaze, Genie, Zohai, JWH-018, -073, -250 Yucatan Fire, Skunk, and Moon Rocks, according to the web site www.drugfree.org.It is a mix of herbs, spices, or shredded material, usually sprayed with a synthetic compound that is chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The drug is usually sold in small and silvery plastic bags of dried leaves and marketed as incense that can be smoked. It is said to resemble potpourri.K2 is usually smoked in joints or pipes, but some users actually make it into a tea. Short term effects of this drug are rampant and include loss of control, lack of pain response, increased agitation, pale skin, seizures, vomiting, profuse sweating, uncontrolled/spastic body movements, elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and palpitations. The onset of the drug is around three to five minutes, and a person using it can experience a high that lasts one to eight hours.Right now, the lasting effects of this drug are not known, but I can only imagine that these effects can be described as life-threatening. The drugs have not been around long enough for medical professionals to know how users will be affected in 10 years, 20 years, or even further into the future.According to a guide on the drug known as Parents360, more than one in 10 American high school seniors used this drug in 2011 according to the “Monitoring the Future” study conducted by the University of Michigan.The drug is more common than hallucinogens, LSD, and OxyContin, and is twice as likely to be used as over-the-counter cough and cold medicine.Parents need to be educating their children about the dangers of this drug. They need to make it clear to them that is impossible to know what these drugs contain, who made them, or what they are going to get. Kids also need to know that getting high, no matter how, carries risk of making unsafe or unhealthy decisions, and just because a drug is legal or labeled as such doesn’t make it safe.The City of Borger is taking the next step in this process by holding a town hall meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at City Hall. A presentation will be given and a time for questions and comments will be heard.I encourage all local citizens who want to see action take place to attend this meeting. There is no doubt that this is a dangerous drug, and not only as a representative of this newspaper, but also a local citizen, I want to see this drug taken off our streets for good.