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Products could be deadly

Would you ingest bleach, or snort lines of toilet bowl cleaner? Would you smoke oven cleaner sprayed on marijuana? This could be what you get when you purchase or use synthetic drugs. Synthetics are a man-made chemical compound to simulate the affects of cannabinoids, heroin and other illegal drugs. However, these chemical compounds are not made for human consumption.

These drugs are widely available in our community. Your teen or middle school child may be able to purchase these substances at a local convenience store, and he or she may not know the dangers. These are most often targeted to youth as Scooby Snacks and Black Mamba, to name two of many. The packaging is often colorful and inviting to young children, as well as middle, high school and college students. It is also marketed as incense, plant foods and bath beads, all stating not to be ingested by humans. This covers any liability of the store for the effects if a person chooses to consume the product.

The effects of these drugs are serious and deadly. After ingesting, the person may experience high blood pressure, increased heart rate, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, blindness and even psychosis. The effects can last hours, days and months. The damage done to the brain from these chemicals is irreversible. The data and effects have not been fully studied because of the newness, therefore it is difficult to state just how damaging it can be to the human brain. However, the statements we have received from users have indicated that synthetics are highly addictive and impact families tragically.

Synthetic drugs are considered a “legal high.” The perception is that because it is legal they are safe and it is alright to use these substances even in recovery. To help support the banning of use and sale of synthetics, please alert your local police department, and support your local coalitions in their campaign for a synthetic-free community.

If you have questions about synthetics, alcohol or other drugs, please contact Monadnock Voices for Prevention at 357-1922 or Monadnock Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coalition at 719-4150. You can also visit our websites at www.monadnockvoices.org and www.madacnh.org. A site dedicated to the prevention of synthetics can be found at www.tothemaximus.org. The Maximus Foundation was created by a mother who lost her child because of the effects of synthetics.

Polly Morris is the regional network coordinator at Monadnock Voices for Prevention in Keene, which serves the entire region. The Monadnock Voices for Prevention Regional Network is funded by the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services and by the N.H. Charitable Foundation through grants administered by Cheshire County.

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