Synthetic Drugs Part 4: Spice/K2

In our final blog about synthetic drugs we are talking about Spice, also known as K2. It is a synthetic version of marijuana that is more harmful. Labeled as “herbal incense” or “potpourri” and marketed as non-addictive and harmless, it is made by spraying plant herbs with man-made chemicals. Like “Bath Salts” that we learned about recently the packaging for Spice/K2 also says “not for human consumption (”


Because it is made of many different man-made chemicals, it can cause more damage to you than regular marijuana can. Spice is actually sold under more than 500 names including Mojo, Scooby Snax, Black Mamba and Annihilation. Some other names K2 might go by are:

  • K spice
  • Legal weed
  • Fake marijuana
  • Scooby Snax
  • Cowboy Kush
  • Kush
  • Bliss


K2/Spice can take many forms. For smoking, it looks like dried, crushed plants (very similar to marijuana).  Liquid versions of K2/Spice that can be used with Vapes and E-Cigs are on a fast-rising trend.

So what will it do to you?

K2 is very similar to marijuana in how it interacts with your brain but it gives a lot of different feelings to you.  It gives the same high effect and causes more enjoyment from boring tasks. But the bad effects outweigh the good ones. Here are some side effects to taking K2:

  • Panic attacks
  • Heavy body load
  • Extreme nausea and vomiting
  • Strong feelings of hallucinations
  • Fear, Panic, Anxiety
  • Racing heart
  • Loss of feeling (numbness)
  • And many more!!!

Some long term effects are kidney failure, heart attacks and death. In most cases, K2 looks harmless because it comes in shiny packages and pretty wrappings, but it is really dangerous. Do not be fooled.


(Photo courtesy of Bruce Plante, author at

If you or someone you know needs help, Youth Outreach is available. Stop by or give us a call at 1.866.538.8023.



Synthetic Drugs Part 3: Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a synthetic stimulant that affects the central nervous system and can be highly addictive.  Meth can take the form of a white, bitter tasting crystalline powder. Meth can also be made into a pill and/or a white or clear rock called a crystal.  Meth is used by snorting, injection or swallowing a pill. “Crystal meth” is smoked in a glass pipe.



Methamphetamine is also known as:  “Meth,” “Speed,” “chalk,” and “tina”; or for crystal meth, “ice,” “crank,” “glass,” “fire,” and “go fast.”

Methamphetamine was developed early in the 20th century from its parent drug, amphetamine, and was used originally in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers. Most of the methamphetamine used in the United States comes from “superlabs”—big illegal laboratories that make the drug in large quantities. Methamphetamines can also be made in small labs in people’s homes using cold medicine and other toxic chemicals.

Methamphetamine causes a release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. The release of small amounts of dopamine makes a person feel pleasure when they do things like listen to music, play video games, or eat tasty food. Methamphetamine’s ability to release dopamine very quickly in the brain produces the feelings of extreme pleasure, sometimes referred to as a “rush” or “flash,” that many users experience. After the effects have worn off, the brain has less dopamine, which can lead to depression.

The release of dopamine in the brain causes several physical effects, similar to those of other stimulants like cocaine. These include:

  • Feeling very awake and active
  • Fast heart rate and irregular heartbeat
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Higher body temperature
  • Increased risk for HIV/AIDS or hepatitis (a liver disease) from unsafe sex and shared needles


Effects of Long-Term Use

Continued methamphetamine use may cause effects that last for a long time, even after a person quits using the drug. These effects include:

  • Anxiety and confusion
  • Problems sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Violent behavior
  • Psychosis (hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there)
  • Skin sores caused by scratching
  • Severe weight loss
  • Severe dental problems, known as “meth mouth”
  • Problems with thinking, emotion, and memory

Faces of Meth:

The following pictures are from the Department of Justice. As you can see, continued Meth use will destroy your body.



Methamphetamines can kill you, simple as that. If someone you know uses Methamphetamine please encourage them to seek treatment. If you or someone you know needs help, Youth Outreach is available.  Stop by or give us a call at 1.866.538.8023.

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Synthetic Drugs Part 2: Bath Salts

For a while when I heard the term “bath salts” I simply thought it was the stuff you put in your bath and thought “oh, how nice.”  One year I attended a conference and training about “designer drugs” and one drug in particular called bath salts. I soon learned these weren’t your normal bath salts to put in your bath. Bath salts are synthetic drugs because of the chemicals used to make them.

The most common ingredient in bath salts is methylenedioxypyrovalerone also known as MDPV.  MDPV is structurally similar to ingredients found in methamphetamines, amphetamines and ecstasy which are known stimulants.

Bath salts are also known as: Flakka, Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky, Cloud Nine, Blue Silk, Purple Sky, Bliss, Purple Wave, Red Dove, Zoom, Bloom, Ocean Snow, Lunar Wave, White Lightening, Scarface, Hurricane Charlie, Drone, Energy-1, Meow Meow, Sextasy, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Snow Leopard, Stardust, White Night, White Rush, Charge Plus, White Dove, Plant Fertilizer, and Plant Food.


More often than not bath salts are a white or brown crystalline powder sold in small plastic or foil packages labeled “not for human consumption.”  While packages such as those shown below with the label “not for human consumption” you can see the irony of the package label instructing: “always drink lots of water, never use with alcohol, and don’t operate a motor vehicle or machinery.”


Bath salts are snorted, smoked or injected. What happens when you’re on bath salts? The high can last from 3-4 hours or days. The physical effects may last 6-8 hours.  The effects may include but are not limited to: paranoia, hallucinations, anger, profuse sweating, hyper alertness, violence, intense thirst, loss of coordination, panic/anxiety, high fever, jaw clenching, delusions, mood swings, dry mouth, vomiting, dizziness, depression, homicidal/suicidal thoughts, agitation with or without violence, jerky body movements, and/or grinding of teeth.

The face of a bath salt user:


The road to recovery from bath salts is not a quick and easy one. If you or someone you know needs help, Youth Outreach is available.  Stop by or give us a call at 1.866.538.8023.


Synthetic Drugs Part 1



     If you’re feeling intense stress from school, work or life in general, you are probably looking for a way to decompress from the stress. Say a friend finds out about your stress, and offers you an interesting looking tea bag, and they tell you it will make everything alright. They have most likely just handed you a bag of ‘bath salts’ A.K.A. synthetic cathinone. Synthetic drugs can mimic the effects of natural drugs, such as energy and mood elevation, and can come in packaging that have the appearance of being legal, making them seem acceptable. Synthetic drugs have become increasingly popular with young adults, especially high-school age students. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, 1 in 9 high school seniors reported using synthetic Marijuana in the last year (Monitoring the Future survey, 2012). Other forms of synthetic drugs are Spice/K2 (synthetic marijuana), Ecstasy, LSD, and Methamphetamine.

It has been reported that synthetic drugs are more dangerous and more addictive then natural drugs. According to, on their Drug Facts page about synthetic cathinones (bath salts), one study found that a common synthetic cathinone (MDVP) affects the brain like cocaine does, only the effect of MDVP is 10 times stronger (Bauman et al., 2013). There is no way to know what is in synthetic drugs because of how and where they are made. The synthetic drugs could be made up of many dangerous ingredients that can cause harmful side effects. Many new synthetic drugs are introduced each year to the public, making it hard to create regulations against certain ingredients. For the next few weeks we will be talking about several different synthetic drugs and their effects on our bodies, so stay tuned! If you’re struggling with drug use or have other questions stop by or call us to chat with someone about your situation; 1.866.538.8023.


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What is a Healthy Relationship?  People have differing opinions on what a healthy relationship looks like however, one thing everyone can agree on is that a healthy relationship is not abusive in any way, shape or form.  According to the website these are signs you are in an unhealthy relationship:

Lack of respect

You “go along” with something even if you think it is not right. You feel bad about what happens when you are together.

Being held back

Your partner does not let you succeed in school, or you are made to feel guilty about doing things that interest you.

Controlling behavior

You may hear, “If you love me, I need to know where you are.” Your partner does not care about your friends.

Feeling “crazy in love”

One or both of you calls the other all the time. You feel your partner is possessive and smothering.

Getting blamed for your partner’s problems

You hear, “This is all your fault.”

Feeling jealous most of the time

A little bit of jealousy is normal. A lot of jealousy, or allowing jealousy to control what goes on between the two of you, will hurt the relationship.

Trying to change the other person’s behavior

One of you tells the other, “My way or no way.”

Unhealthy relationships can become healthy ones with mutual respect and communication. But, if you can’t have respect for each other the relationship may need to end. Sometimes these problems increase into more severe issues. If that happens it may look something like this:

Verbal Abuse

Screaming, swearing, bullying, or calling each other names is never okay.

Physical Abuse

Pushing, Shoving, Hitting, or Kicking

Trying to Control the Other Person’s Behavior; Forced Sex

You always have the right to refuse attention or affection.


If one of you does not get your way, a threat is made to hurt either the other person or yourself.

Breaking or Hitting Objects during an Argument

If your relationship is crossing the line, the behavior needs to stop right away or the relationship needs to end. If you are having trouble ending a relationship, seek the help of an adult who cares about your well-being.

We now know what an unhealthy relationship looks like, as well as signs of something more severe. According to this is what a healthy relationship is about:

Respecting each other

Knowing that you make each other better people

Sharing common interests, but having outside friends and activities too

Settling disagreements peacefully and with respect

Both people in a relationship should be happy and supportive of each other. If you would like to learn more about healthy relationships, dating and other topics of interest, visit  Are you having problems in a relationship and would like someone to talk to? You can call or stop by Youth Outreach to chat with someone about your situation; 1.866.538.8023.