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Cape teen hospitalized after smoking ‘synthetic marijuana’

By Staff | Nov 3, 2010

Another Cape Coral teen was hospitalized Tuesday night after he reportedly smoked synthetic marijuana and had an adverse reaction.
Police responding to the report of a drug overdoes at 8 p.m. spoke with Patricia Fletcher, the mother of a 17-year-old youth.
Fletcher told police that her son was at his friend’s house and he had just returned home. She stated that she was told to call EMS because the teen had smoked some marijuana and was experiencing bad side effects to the drug.
“He was sitting on the couch, sweating profusely, very pale,” Fletcher said. “He was gasping for breath. He said he needed help.”
“He was very scared,” she said.
Lee County EMS responded, treated the youth, and then transported him to Health Park hospital for further review, a report states.
“They thought that he went into a little bit of a seizure on the way to the hospital,” Fletcher said.
The teen was kept on oxygen and a heart monitor throughout the night.
“He’s feeling good,” she said Wednesday. “He’s very alert.”
Police spoke with the teen’s friend, who stated that they had smoked “Mr. Nice Guy, Herbal Smoke Incense.” The friend said the youth had told him that he had smoked incense before, according to the report. After the two smoked, the teen who later suffered a reaction left the house acting normal.
Synthetic marijuana, a combination of legal herbal mixtures and synthetic chemical compounds, is a growing concern among law enforcement and health care professionals. On Oct. 25, two Cape Coral teens were hospitalized after using the substance, which is legal in Florida but banned in 13 other states.
Synthetic marijuana is marketed for sale as incense in smoke shops, gas stations and convenience stores. Sold under a variety of names including K2, Spice and Mr. Nice Guy, the product is smoked to achieve a “legal high.” This can lead to adverse side effects, from heart palpitations to hallucinations.
Fletcher said her son stated that he will never use the substance again.
“I sure hope he doesn’t,” she said, adding he takes several prescribedmedications. “I told him that if he does, he will die. I hope he realizes that now.”
Because synthetic marijuana is marketed and sold as incense, there is typically no an age restriction on buying it. Only some product packages state that the substance is not for human consumption.
“This isn’t even pot. They don’t even know what this stuff is made of,” Fletcher said. “They need to make it so these kids can’t go in the stores and buy this stuff. Somebody’s going to end up dying from this.”
In December, local law enforcement members intend to make a presentation to the Florida Legislature on synthetic marijuana. The five-county area will be represented as well as southern Sarasota. The group will push for legislation banning the substance in the state of Florida.