Barrington Officials Seek Parents’ Help in Fighting Synthetic Drug Use


A group of parents appeared at Barrington High School last week not to attend a PTA meeting, but to discuss the increasingly prevalent issue of synthetic drug use by teenagers, the Barrington.Suntimes.com reports.

synthetic marijuanaLeading the discussion is Linda Lewaniak, director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital, who explained that fake marijuana is often marketed as “herbal incense” and is sold in colorful, stylish packages that appeal to teenagers.

During the session, coordinated by the Barrington Community Drug Prevention Coalition, Lewaniak also tackled synthetic stimulants, particularly mephedrone, which can be sold under the guise of “bath salts” or “plant fertilizer.” She enumerated the side effects of mephedrone, such as euphoria, sociability, and stimulation. She noted that the effects of  the drug can drastically vary from the first to second time of use, and an individual may experience paranoia, anxiety, insomnia and psychosis.

In July, an ordinance was passed in Barrington that prohibits sale or possession of products containing the synthetic drugs “bath salts” and “K2/Spice.” The ordinance allows police officers to inspect convenience stores and gas stations suspected of selling synthetic drugs.

Lewaniak believes that the use of synthetic drugs by teenager could decrease once teenagers realize the harrowing effects of the drugs.

The Barrington Community Drug Prevention Coalition has scheduled additional discussions with area parents at the high school on other teen issues, including parent and child communication (Oct. 24), binge drinking (Nov. 28), and stress and mental health (Dec. 12).

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