Adding Spice to Your Life Is Not Necessarily A Good Thing

According to Merriam-Webster, Spice is defined, among other things, as “something that gives zest or relish.” So how does that tie into “Spice”, a relatively new drug being regularly weedzy used by youth and adults around the world? For many, Spice is a substitute for “weed” or cannabis. Its name alone may add to its risk.

Oh, just add a little more SPICE to your life.
Oh, just to make something more exiting, SPICE up your life.
Oh, if you want to add flavor to your food. Put some SPICE in your food.

In most settings, Spice sounds like a good thing to have and something to be desired. No, wonder the youth of our culture came up with this urban name for something that is anything by exciting. Actually it can cause anxiety, hallucinations, nausea and dependence.

Spice is sometimes referred to as K2 or Spice Gold. It is generally made up of some type of leaves from herbal plants that are sprayed with synthetic chemicals that are similar to THC (the chemical found in cannabis or “pot”), but much more concentrated. This leads many types of Spice to have stronger effects than marijuana.

This drug appears to be popular with youth, as well as with men and women who are in the military. One reason for its popularity is likely related to the fact that it has, until fairly recently, been legal in many states. It is also readily available for purchase online. This makes it easy to find and purchase. Additionally, Spice is more difficult to detect in a drug screen.

In late 1990, Spice was all over Europe, Asia, and Russia. It did not take long for Spice to move to North America. It took until 2008 to begin to ban this drug in the United States. At this time, spice is illegal for sale in most states, although as noted above, it can be purchased online from a variety of venders. There are also a vast variety of herbal blends that are designed for smoking. These blends, often sold at head shops and online, do not have the same chemicals at Spice, but they claim similar effects.

What effect does Spice have on a person who uses it? Because Spice differs greatly from one brand and manufacturer to another, symptoms of Spice use vary considerably. Short term use is supposed to lead to a sense of relaxation and euphoria. However, some of the reported symptoms of chronic, long-term use include:

Changes in sleeping pattern
Changes in Appetite (not eating or eating too much)
Suicidal talk or giving things away.
Mood Swings
Stealing or other illegal behavior not typical of the person
A sudden increase in accidents
A recent change in the friends he/she hangs out with
Money not accounted for, like new things or money missing
Poor self-image (not taking showers, brushing teeth, or changing clothes)
Depressed mood
Decline in school performance
Increase in fear and anxiety
Conflicts with family members

In addition, some users have severe and life threatening reactions to Spice including seizures, heart attacks, and psychotic symptoms. There have also been reports of Spice use contributing to suicides.

It is interesting to note that many of the symptoms found in those who use Spice, are also common among individuals using other illegal drugs. The challenge with Spice is that a person can pass a drug screen by still be using a substance that substantially changes how he/she interacts with the world.

So what can you do if you suspect a loved one is addicted to Spice, or any other drug for that matter? First, learn what you can about this substance- it will make it easier to understand what the addicted person is going through. Second, although Spice is a newer drug compared to many, addiction to Spice is being successfully treated by many drug and alcohol treatment centers. Contacting a local treatment center is a good step in helping those whose lives are being taken over by their addition to Spice.

My Name is J. Ann Locke-Bryie I was born in East Los Angles, California. I went to Mercy High School and graduated in 1973 in Sacramento. I then went to business school in Idaho Falls, Idaho where I graduated in 1975. I got married and had two beautiful children, Chris Corcoran and Julia Bryie-Springer. I moved from Idaho Falls, back to Sacramento, to raise my family as a single parent. When my son entered the Air Force I moved to Norton, Kansas where my mother was from. I interviewed with Norton Valley Hope Alcohol and Drug treatment Center in 2000, went to Colby College, graduated and have been employed as a substance Abuse Counselor. I am in recovery for over 18 years. I now serve as the Admissions Counselor for Norton Valley Hope, which is a part of Valley Hope Association, a not for profit substance abuse treatment center that has residential facilities in seven Midwestern and southern states.

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