Teen Spice Abuse, What It Is
“Spice” is a synthetic marijuana substitute, made up of a combination of herbal mixtures. For a number of years, purchasing Spice was both easy and legal, and could be found in convenience stores as well as on the internet. However, in July 2012, the five most common ingredients found in Spice were designated controlled substances, thereby making it illegal.
Teen Spice abuse is the second most commonly abused drug, after marijuana.
What Spice Abuse Looks Like
Though Spice was deemed illegal, manufacturers continue to create new products with similar effects but just enough differences to be legal. These Spice products are sometimes sold as “incense,” but actually look like potpourri. Spice is most often smoked.
Because Spice is a synthetic form of marijuana, often teens will experience a similar high to that associated with marijuana, such as relaxed feelings and mildly distorted senses. However, because the ingredients in Spice vary, so can the effects, and teenagers taken into the ER or a poison control center, report far more extreme symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, rapid heart rate, vomiting, and confusion.
Some of the other symptoms that Spice can cause include, but are not limited to:
- Increased heart rate
- Disruption in proper blood circulation
- Heart attack
Spice is considered a relatively new drug, which means there hasn’t been substantial research done, concerning the short and long-term health effects and risks. Because of this, there still exist many questions about which risks Spice abusers may be undertaking.
Residential Teen Treatment
Teen treatment for Spice abuse is similar to the treatment for marijuana. The first step is to support a teen in safely discontinuing the use of Spice, while providing oversight and careful attention to any side effects they may experience during the withdrawal. These side effects are usually relatively mild with Spice users, but the strong addictive nature of Spice can nonetheless make quitting difficult.
As teens are detoxing from Spice, therapists work with teens holistically to help them address their substance addiction. They do so through a number of different approaches within Talk Therapy, by working with teens to identify and discuss any possible stresses or conflicts that may have led to or encouraged their use of Spice. Therapists help teens address these factors, in order to discover any underlying issues that should be addressed, and in order to support the teens’ full recovery from the substance.
Therapists also teach teens healthy methods and techniques of dealing with stress, communicating with others, and facing their urge to use. Therapists help engage teens in activities and outlets that they enjoy and that therefore, contribute to their overall health and well-being, such as playing music or doing art. These resources help empower teens to make changes toward a complete and long-lasting recovery.
If there are legal forms of Spice, is it really that dangerous?
One of the difficult and dangerous factors about man-made drugs is that manufacturers add in a number of ingredients which may not even be intended for ingestion. Because these ingredients aren’t well known, the possible risks and health effects of them aren’t known either, making a drug that may be temporarily “legal,” extremely dangerous nonetheless.