Spice (K2) Abuse in the South: Stats and Treatment Options

Spice and K2 are synthetic cannabinoids typically inhaled via e-cigarettes or vapes or smoked like marijuana.

This article will look at the scope of local Spice/K2 use and how to get help if you or someone you know has lost control of their drug use.

 Spice (K2) Use in the South

The initial concern with synthetic cannabinoids is that they were marketed primarily for younger individuals.

Data presented by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime shows that between 2006 and 2015, there was a steady market for synthetic cannabinoids worldwide.

Trends indicate that use of these drugs declined for children and adolescents worldwide over this time period, but increases were observed in homeless individuals and prison inmates.

NIDA examined the use of synthetic cannabinoids in adolescents and found that use decreased in certain age groups from 2014 through 2017.

  • For 8th graders, the percentage of individuals reporting use of synthetic cannabinoids was 3.3% in 2014, 3.1% in 2015, 2.7% in 2016, and 2% in 2017.
  • For 10th graders, 5.4% reported use of synthetic cannabinoids in 2014, 4.3% in 2015, 3.3% in 2016, and 2.7% in 2017.
  • For 12th graders, 5.8% reported use of synthetic cannabinoids in 2014, 5.2% in 2015, 3.5% in 2016, and 3.7% in 2017.

Despite widespread reporting in the media regarding use of synthetic cannabinoids recently, the data suggests that use of these drugs has significantly declined among younger individuals in recent years.

This decline most likely reflects controls placed by the states and federal government on the substances in combination with educational attempts to provide the public with information regarding the potential dangers of these substances.

Overall, use of synthetic cannabinoids is relatively rare compared to most other drugs. Reliable specific statistics that show use of these drugs by region in the United States are not readily available, but there is information regarding poisoning admissions associated with these drugs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the latest data regarding poisoning cases associated with synthetic cannabinoids like K2 and Spice. The latest available data is for 2010 to 2015.

As can be seen on the CDC’s website, the highest rates of poisoning occurred in the Northeast, and reported poisoning cases in the South are significantly lower than most other areas of the country.

According to the CDC, during the 2010–2015 time period, there were a total of 456 cases of reported synthetic cannabinoid intoxication treated in the United States and 61% of these were solely due to the use of synthetic cannabinoids. The other cases were due to a mixture of synthetic cannabinoids and other drugs.

There were three deaths recorded, one resulting from the use of synthetic cannabinoids alone and the others as a result of mixing synthetic cannabinoids with other drugs. About 71% of the cases of synthetic cannabinoid intoxication occurred in people between the ages of 19 and 65, and approximately 27% occurred in people between the ages of 13 and 18. Slightly over 83% of the cases were male.

Recent stories in the media suggest rising levels of toxic reactions and overdoses occurring in numerous areas of the country, particularly in urban areas and primarily to homeless individuals.

Continued monitoring of these substances by the government, educational entities, and law enforcement can be effective in reducing rates of toxic reactions to and overdoses on these drugs.

These drugs are extremely potent and unpredictable. The toxic effects of these drugs include a combination of psychiatric, neurological, and other effects that can vary from individual to individual.

Moreover, there are numerous examples of individuals becoming severely psychotic and disoriented as a result of being under the influence of these drugs.

Use of Spice/K2 by College Students

While Spice use does appear to be most prevalent in the Northeast, based on poisoning data, there are reports of use among college students in the South.

A 2010 study involved over 3,000 students from 11 colleges in North Carolina and Virginia. Participants were asked about their Spice use when they entered college.

At entry, 7.6% reported lifetime use of Spice or K2. By their fourth year of college, 17% reported lifetime use of the drug.

College often represents a time of increased experimentation with substances. Easier access to synthetic drugs, as well as peer pressure, likely contribute to this uptick in use.

As a result, many colleges across the South have increased prevention and education efforts when it comes to synthetic drugs like Spice or K2.

Treatment for K2/Spice Abuse

Our drug and alcohol rehab facility in Etta, Mississippi, offers multiple levels of addiction care.

For more information about what to expect in inpatient rehab and outpatient treatment in Mississippi, or to ask about using insurance to pay for rehab, call us today at .

Don’t let the devastating side effects of addiction go on for another day. If you or someone you love is struggling with Spice/K2 abuse, we can help you on the path to recovery.

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