The father of two teenagers says that his sons may have been smoking the synthetic drug “spice” before they were killed by a train in Mebane, N.C.
It’s a horrible loss for the family, to lose two boys at once in such a needless way. And while reading about the accident I discovered something alarming. Several major media websites reported that spice is still legal. But in fact, the drug was outlawed in North Carolina on June 1.
However, the impression that it is legal is still out there. And that means people, especially young people, will be less likely to take these deadly synthetic drugs seriously.
The accident happened Friday night, Sept. 30. The boys, one 17 years old and one 19, were taking a shortcut along the tracks, something they’d done many times before.
The train, traveling at 79 miles an hour, reached a bend in the tracks when the conductor saw the brothers. He pulled the brake and blew his whistle. Neither of the boys even turned around. The father said that someone walking on the tracks can feel the vibration of an oncoming train.
Police found the drug at the scene, and people who had been with the brothers earlier said they had been using the drug.
Spice packet (cc) image from U.S. Navy
Spice, also known as K2, could be called a type of man-made marijuana. It is strongly addictive, and side effects include panic attacks, heart palpitations, hallucinations, delusions, vomiting and increased agitation.
As one law officer said, “If there’s hallucinations involved, or things of that nature, they may not have even seen the train coming.”
Another synthetic drug that was outlawed in June is “bath salts,” marketed under names such as Vanilla Sky and Bliss. Bath salts are incredibly deadly. They may cause increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia, chest pains, and other harmful effects. The physical reactions can result in death.
But bath salts’ extreme psychotic reactions are the most shocking. There have been reports of car crashes, self-mutilations, suicides and homicides linked to the use of bath salts.
The drugs are sold in “head shops,” in so-called tobacco shops, on the Internet and even in convenience stores.
Neither the father nor his other two sons had never heard of “spice.” He called for an effort to get the drug made illegal, vowing to get people to band together to get the drug out of stores.
Law enforcement in some areas are taking on the task of going after the drugs. Sting operations in Fayetteville, Jacksonville and Newport have hit a number of stores, seizing more than a million dollars worth of product.
These police operations need to be undertaken statewide. More arrests mean
more drugs off the shelves. But they will also mean more headlines. And the battle of information needs to be waged as well.
I hope that newspapers and TV stations across the state will take notice of this story and others on these drugs and give them the attention they deserve. Furthermore, with the power of social media, a grassroots wave of information on Facebook and Twitter could prove invaluable.
Spread the word.