Posts Tagged teen synthetic marijuana abuse
If you are still skeptical about the risks of synthetic drug abuse, then this bit of news might make you think twice.
In November of last year, the family of Kurtis Hildreth found the 18-year-old dead inside his bedroom with a partially lit pipe containing the illicit drug Spice and a lighter nearby. According the Alaska Dispatch, the medical examiner’s office declared the cause of death as “undetermined”, much to the frustration and anger of Hildreth’s family.
Hildreth lived with his aunt, Kerri Stevens, when the incident happened. “The pipe was right there by his feet. He was a healthy kid. The lighter was right there. The pipe was right there. He never had any kind of heart problems or seizures,” said Stevens. The teenager was supposed to tour around Alaska and be presented a job offer in a commercial glass company run by his aunt’s family. With the teen’s death, the plans were all for naught.
Alaska plays host to a number of designer drugs readily available in smoke shops. These synthetic marijuana versions are packed in attractive packets, such as the brand “Mr. Nice Guy” with a dead smiley face at the front of the packaging. This particular brand was the one found in Hildreth’s bedroom where he was found lifeless.
Brandon Jenkins, the victim’s best friend, was able to talk with Hildreth moments before the teenager sniffed the controversial drug. “Life will lead you in better directions than this stuff will. Life has many opportunities, and death only has one,” Jenkins added.
A free public panel discussion was organized by the Ottawa Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to address the growing problem of marijuana use in Northwest Ottawa County especially among teens. The discussion held at the Grand Haven 9 Theater was attended by about 60 parents and educators from Muskegon, Holland, and Tri-Cities.
Panelists during the forum included police officials, school authorities, parents, and students that were all determined to help put a stop to drug abuse problems in their area. Sgt. Glenn Bo from the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety was joined by Deputy Sara Fillman of the Sheriff’s Office in Ottawa County, Cynthia Spielmaker from tha 20th Circuit Court/Juvenile Services, Karen Miedema of the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office, and some parents and students who volunteered to share their experiences with drug abuse.
Stephanie VanDerKooi from the Ottawa County Health Department said that kids today have easy access to dangerous drugs. From the latest survey made, they listed alcohol as the top choice of drug among high school students. Marijuana came in at second while synthetic marijuana (K2 or Spice) climbed at the third place. Completing the top five from the list are tobacco at fourth and prescription drugs at fifth place.
From the list of prescribed medications, Adderall, Ritalin, and Vicodin have been favored by citizens in Northwest Ottawa County.
“The big problem is, it’s (drugs) more potent than ever — but kids are looking at it like it’s no big deal,” Miedema said. “And it’s getting expensive — but, somehow, kids are getting the money.”
Members of the Oswego community in Illinois gathered at Oswego East High School for the second annual forum on addiction in Kendall County, sponsored by the district. The gathering coincided with the 5th anniversary of a car crash involving teenagers – as well as drugs and alcohol.
Oswego Police Capt. Jeff Bregner said: “Five years ago, the community was hit with a horrible tragedy… eight kids piled into that car. Five of those kids didn’t get to come home.”
It was rather disheartening for the adults gathered that day, however, as they found out that a lot of kids have not quite learned the lessons that they hoped would be taught by the accident. On the contrary, the number of drug and alcohol incidents at Oswego schools increased 400 percent in the last year, according to school resource officers Brian Nehring of Oswego High School and Justin Pan of Oswego East.
Nehring also shared having personally witnessed such an incident. Just hours prior to the forum, a student at Oswego East had been arrested for bringing alcohol to school. The student admitted that he took the alcohol from his parents, and shared it with his friends.
The forum featured presentations from Oswego School District Health Service Coordinator Jill Accardo, and local advocate Karen Dobner. Dobner has a personal experience with drug-related tragedy. Her son Max died after smoking synthetic marijuana, then driving his car at a speed of up to 100 mph. He crashed into a house in North Aurora.