Oakland County, Michigan -- Oakland County Health Division's Office of Substance Abuse Services is available to answer residents' questions about K2 or synthetic marijuana following the death of a young adult from Michigan who smoked a blend called "Mr. Nice Guy." The death did not occur in Oakland County.
Announced by the Michigan Department of Community Health last week, this incident comes on the heels of the superintendent of the Holly Area School District sending a letter home to parents warning them some local teens are experimenting with K2. Its use and possession is illegal in Michigan.
"This drug is an especially serious and illegal substance," said Kathy Forzley, Oakland County Health Division's manager and health officer. "It is important for parents to realize that K2 is not illegal in every state so it may be easily accessible for purchase over the Internet."
K2 is sold as incense or potpourri and is commonly purchased in tobacco shops, head shops, and over the Internet. It is often marketed as incense or "fake weed." The material is a mixture of herbs and spices, sprayed with a synthetic similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
"It is not usually known where the product comes from or what amount of chemical is in the material, which is why K2 is especially dangerous," Forzley added.
Symptoms from K2 use range from soaring heart rates, to paranoia, to near-death experiences, according to Michigan Department of Community Health. Despite the health risks, K2 has grown in popularity as an alternative to marijuana because it is easily accessible and untraceable in drug screens within two hours after use.
"Parents should supervise their child’s activities, know who their friends are, and monitor their surroundings," said Forzley. "Look for items like drug paraphernalia or cigarette papers; materials that appear to be potpourri or incense; and evidence of online purchases."
Some common street names of K2 are Spice, Spice Gold, Spice Silver, Spice Diamond, and Fire & Ice, among others.
To reach the Office of Substance Abuse Services, call 248-858-0001 or go to www.oakgov.com/health
. Counselors are available to answer questions about K2 and other substances.