Fenton Community Parent Officials Afraid K2/Spice Sales Will Spike in Genesee County
Expert says ban in other counties could result in synthetic drugs being more widely distributed around Fenton, Genesee County.
While other counties in Michigan have banned sales of K2 and Spice, it is still legal in Genesee County and that has local officials worried.
Fenton Township drug prevention group Community Parent member and Brighton addiction outreach specialist Scott Masi warned that since Livingston, Macomb and Oakland Counties have passed or plan to pass ordinances to ban the synthetic drugs, it could lead to wider distribution in Genesee County.
“These guys are drugs dealers,” Masi said. “I’ve went into these places and bought it after negotiating the price.”
State Rep. Joe Graves (R-Argentine Township) recently wrote a letter asking the Genesee County Board of Commissioners to ban the drug like other counties have done. Genesee County Health Officer Mark Valacak said he didn’t have enough data to ban the drug.
“When you talk to these kids and tell them its dangerous and can cause problems. They say ‘if it's so bad, why is it legal?’ Graves said. “It should be illegal and we need to address it.”
Patch will host a K2/Spice live chat from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday. Masi will join Dr. David Yanga, addictionoligist and family practitioner, and John Furey, counseling supervisor at the Brighton Center for Recovery, to field readers' questions.
Synthetic cannabinoid was synthesized for the first time in 1995 at the University of Clemson to explore for cancer related remedies, Masi said in a presentation Monday.
He said it started showing up in the United States for recreational use in 2008.
Masi said different vegetations are used and sprayed with chemicals unevenly, so its impossible to know how strong it is.
“It’s like Russian Roulette. You don’t know what you are going to get from each packet,” Masi said.
He said the onset of the drug comes in three to five minutes and can last for one to eight hours. He said one big symptom is agitation.
Fenton Police Chief Rick Aro recently sent out a letter to area businesses asking for cooperation in preventing the sale of the synthetic drug. The notice came after an incident on Memorial Day where Aro said a 14-year-old Fenton boy met some strangers at Bush Park who offered him a sample of what they said was Spice. Aro said the boy called his mother and told her he was disorientated and when he came home he became agitated and had stomach cramps. Aro said his parents told police he woke up the next day and was still agitated leading to a verbal and then physical dispute between the boy and his parents. Aro said the boy was taken to Hurley Hospital.
Masi also talked about the dangers of bath salts, another synthetic drug on the market.
He showed a presentation beginning with a police video of man on bath salts that was laughing and screaming uncontrollably.
“This high is really a pretty intense high,” Masi said.
He said the synthetic drugs could induce what he called couch lock, where individuals are coherent, but can’t move.
The sale of K2—a synthetic drug also known as Spice—has drawn much attention throughout the state of Michigan in recent weeks.
Many parents have expressed concern about Spice in the wake of several incidents. Most notably, Tucker Cipriano, 19, of Farmington Hills is believed to have been high on synthetic marijuana in April when he attacked his family, killing his father and severely injuring his mother and brother.