Synthetic marijuana use on the rise in Rio Rancho

Posted at: 10/24/2013 5:55 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Synthetic marijuana use is on the rise among New Mexico teenagers – the most recent scare taking place at Rio Rancho High School Wednesday afternoon.

Rio Rancho police believe a 16-year-old boy was high on “spice” or “K2” or some other kind of synthetic pot when he passed out on the school campus.  Police said he was unresponsive at first, but better by the time paramedics arrived. School officials will only say he had “medical symptoms”, but they acknowledge that synthetic marijuana use is on the rise among teenagers statewide.

Rio Rancho isn’t the only town with a problem – far from it. Synthetic marijuana is everywhere, even though its ingredients are banned under state and federal laws.

Dr. Joel Haber is an internationally known psychologist and author whose specialty is adolescent bullying, and he says synthetic pot is part of that problem, too.

“Kids are going to try things out,” Dr. Haber said after addressing the state attorney general’s Safe Schools Summit in Albuquerque Thursday afternoon. “The question is, what are we going to do when we find out that they’re at risk? How do we let them know that they have places where they can communicate with us and not feel like they’re isolated and have to go do more of it with kids who are doing more of that stuff?”

Dr. Haber said the trouble is that the adolescent mind just doesn’t think about negative consequences.

“So when you add substances into that, on top of the way they’re not emotionally regulated yet, it creates a big potential crisis.”

A lot can go wrong when you use synthetic pot. The Office of National Drug Control Policy says symptoms can include agitation, extreme nervousness, nausea, vomiting, a racing heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, tremors and seizures.