Over 100 people in Dallas and Austin died after smoking synthetic drugs that claim to mimic marijuana, Carla Wade of WCNC reports.
Police told Wade that the deaths are likely related and that the batch of drugs originated with a Dallas supplier.
Fake weed, aka K2 or Spice, shares more properties with herbal incense or potpourri — which is how it is sold — than marijuana.
The DEA has attempted a crackdown
on the drug by placing certain compounds as Schedule 1 controlled substances, but manufacturers evade restrictions by creating new compounds with similar effects.
Head shop owner Eric Vandervert told Business Insider the scariest thing about fake weed: Manufacturers buy empty packages from China and fill them with whatever blend they want.
“People will steal that branding all day long,” the Florida native said. “I could have five different bags that all look like Scooby Snax, but they all came from a different manufacturer and they all have a different blend inside.”
Spice can have wide-ranging effects on the body, many of them bad.
Toxicology tests are underway to see if all of the deaths occurred while smoking the same batch and if the compound was laced with another drug.
The reality is that any bag of Spice could contain not just one untested drug, but any one of thousands of untested compounds. That result is that kids have been dying for years.
Here are some types of “not for human consumption” herbal incense:
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