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There have been reports of teens and young adults having serious adverse reactions to the use of synthetic stimulants and synthetic marijuana. Many people, who have used these drugs, present at hospital emergency rooms with impaired perception, racing heart, vomiting, reduced motor control, disorientation, extreme paranoia, violent behavior and psychosis. The long-term physical and psychological effects of using these drugs are not yet known.

Both types of drugs, sold in some small variety stores, gas stations and over the internet, have many different labels and come in colorful foil or cellophane packages. Many are marked “not for human consumption”. These drugs have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for human consumption or for medical use. Recent regulations enacted by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have made the manufacturing and sale of synthetic stimulants and synthetic marijuana illegal.

Synthetic Stimulants (Bath Salts)

Synthetic stimulants often labeled "Bath Salts," are comprised of drugs (cathinones) that appear to cause the same effects as cocaine, hallucinogenic drugs like LSD, MDMA, and/or methamphetamine. These drugs are not related to Epsom salts which are often added to bathwater; but are marketed as “Bath Salts” to avoid detection by authorities. These drugs typically take the form of a white or brown crystalline powder, but can be found in a variety of colors. They are sometimes marketed as “plant food”, “jewelry cleaner” or “phone screen cleaner.”

For more information about Synthetic Stimulants, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.

Synthetic Marijuana (e.g. K2, Spice, "Herbal Incense")

Synthetic marijuana, commonly called K2 or Spice, or "Herbal Incense", consists of plant material containing illegal synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids are drugs that are not made from the marijuana plant.

For more information about Synthetic Marijuana, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s website.

These drugs are very dangerous for anyone who may use them. If you suspect that they are being sold at a local outlet, please report it to the police department for investigation. You may also report your suspicions to the DEA Diversion Control Office at (617) 557-2191 for residents of Central and Eastern Massachusetts and (860) 257-2601 for residents of Western Massachusetts.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education Helpline at
800-327-5050, or visit their website: www.helpline-online.com.


This information is provided by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services within the Department of Public Health.