Iowans warned to watch out for "Spice" or "K2" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans warned to watch out for "Spice" or "K2"


DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Iowans are being warned to watch out for a new substance that is sometimes referred to as fake or synthetic marijuana.

The State's Drug Policy Coordinator, Gary Kendell, says the substance is sold under names like "Spice" and "K2" and warns Iowans to use caution when dealing with it.

Kendell says the substance has already claimed the life of a central Iowa teen.

"Increasingly within the last month, our office has received concerns about an olive-colored plant material often referred to and smoked as synthetic marijuana," said Kendell. "While most of these types of products are currently unregulated, in my opinion the effects they reportedly have on users are cause for concern."

"These products are sometimes sold as herbal incense mixtures, but they contain various synthetic compounds that appear to stimulate the same areas of the brain as marijuana," Kendell said. "Unlike marijuana, according to the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center, the effects of these products include anxiety, panic attacks, agitation, hallucinations and seizures."

While many of the synthetic marijuana products are legal in Iowa, the DEA has labeled them as "drugs and chemicals of concern." Three states have banned the chemical compounds found in "K2" and "Spice", and eight others are considering a ban.

Kendell says he will ask Governor Culver and the Legislature to make these products a schedule one controlled substance under Iowa law.  A move that would effectively ban the sale or use of them in the state.  He adds that he is talking with members of Iowa's congressional delegation about a possible federal ban.

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If you have concerns about someone smoking these types of products, you should call the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center toll-free hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

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