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“K2” and other synthetic drugs are still available in some gas stations and convenience stores in Missouri even after the state banned the substances, according to The Kansas City Star.

Vicky Ward, Manager of Prevention Services for Tri-County Mental Health Services, said teenagers tend to think K2, a form of synthetic marijuana, can’t be harmful if it is available at convenience stores. “It is not your typical drug kid,” she said. “Their rationale is, ‘I am a good kid; I would not do anything illegal.’ But they are selling it in the stores, so you have a mindset that it must be safe.”

This month, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a report for physicians about the side effects of synthetic marijuana, to help them be on the lookout for the symptoms.

Signs of synthetic marijuana abuse include agitation, excessive sweating, inability to speak, restlessness and aggression, according to the report. The drugs also cause “euphoric and psychoactive effects” similar to those caused by marijuana. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 4,500 calls involving synthetic marijuana toxicity from 2010 to 2011.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently announced it is extending its ban on synthetic marijuana for another six months. In March 2011, the DEA temporarily banned five chemicals whose effects mimic marijuana. The DEA said it was outlawing the chemicals to protect public health and safety.

The chemicals are now classified as Schedule I substances, which have “a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use for treatment in the United States and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.”


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