K2 is not safe

Lance Cpl. Damany S. Coleman
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Spice is originally sold as an incense but has now swept the military community with controversy as a ‘legal’ designer drug. However, Marine Corps Order 5355.1, issued Jan. 27, directly prohibits the use, distribution, sale, and possession of it and others like it. (Courtesy photo)

It was 2007, and my girlfriend then wanted to try smoking marijuana for the first time. I had tried it here and there, but her sheltered lifestyle gave her distance from anything of that nature. So she suggested we try “legal synthetic weed”. We called it “spice” back then.

What resulted wasn’t what I would call fun. I felt slow and dimwitted for two days. It did not feel like what I was used to. I could only describe it as feeling grosser.

To make one thing clear, this is not coming from a “just say no to drugs” person. I’m very much a say “sometimes” to drugs person. I firmly believe that drugs you feel that you have to take every day for recreation should be avoided at all costs. In my book, coffee, alcohol, marijuana, and psychedelics are able to be used responsibly only on occasion, but I will never touch fake weed again.

We were idiots. We thought since it was legal at the time, it was also safe. It could have been a safe batch, but K2 is not always chemically the same. Lawmakers are having trouble fighting the substance because every time they try to ban the substance drug makers simply change the formula. NPR states the drug is often created by spraying and ever-changing array of chemicals onto dried plants. Spice sometimes contains ecstasy, opiates or even bath salts.

The Courier and Press reported eight people in Evansville collapsed from smoking a batch of K2 made with very harmful chemicals Feb. 28. The Evansville Police Department estimates there were 15 to 20 overdoses in the month of February. Evansville’s coroner Steve Lockyear has labeled K2 as the cause of one man’s death in 2017.

When I heard this news my heart sank. Everyone I know has stepped away from any K2 usage, but that’s because we’ve learned firsthand. Some of the friends I grew up with spent years smoking K2 thinking it was the “safe” alternative to other drugs.

This is a time to learn from my experiences and my mistake. I was naive when the information was not available about the dangers of K2. Students who are just now entering adulthood might make the same silly assumptions I had. If you have never tried spice in your life, good. You should keep it that way.

If you have or currently smoke the substance, vow to never touch the stuff again. Whatever effects come from it are not worth the risk of not knowing what is going into your body.