The Dangers of ‘Spice’n it up

I’ve always been told that college is supposed to be the best experience of our lives. It is supposed to be our one free pass to live life vicariously, make terrible mistakes justified by valuable lessons, meet new friends to expand our network, develop professionally and experiment with drugs and alcohol.

It is here in college where the “I will never try” turns into “I’ll try it once.” But does every drug warrant that first try?

Spice, a synthetic marijuana, has not only been the topic of debate among my own circle of friends, but it has been a progressive predicament nationwide. I am completely against it. Spice is an herbal mixture sprayed with chemicals with the intentions of creating a high similar to smoking weed, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Spice is most recognizable as a legal alternative to marijuana because of its easy access in gas stations, corner stores and smoke shops, especially under the alias of potpourri or incense. I am no saint, but smoking anything in relation to fragranced home décor seems a bit off the deep end.

Plus, contrary to popular belief, there is nothing legal about spice. According to the Controlled Substance Analogue Act, substances mimicking existing illegal drugs are also illegal.

Barbara Carreno, spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, reports to CNN that spice is 100 times more potent than marijuana. This leads me to conclude that spice’s astronomical potency is closely related to varied and adverse reactions, which is true for most drugs.

Just imagine your worst experience with any drug you have tried. Now, multiply that by 100. Carreno also explained the lack of consistency or quality control in the production of spice. 

Anyone looking to score a quick buck can be your dealer. More times than not, how your health will be affected will not be the first thing on your mind. It is scary to consider that spice is the second most popular illicit drug used behind marijuana, according to a national survey done by the University of Michigan.

It is even scarier to know just how severe its effects can be on the human body. Emily Bauer, a 17-year-old girl from Cypress, Texas, can testify to the drug’s danger after nearly losing her life when her high lasted more than 24 hours. It caused several severe strokes, which damaged about 70 percent of her brain. She also experienced hallucinations, violent outbursts and an induced coma by her doctors just to keep her from harming herself or others.

I think as degree-seeking students who are in possession of an auspicious future far beyond our imagination, we should have enough sense to weigh the pros and cons of all of our extracurricular indulgences. If the scale is tipping too heavy on the negative side, then we need to just let it be. Trust me. There are plenty more sins with less of a gamble that we can “spice” up our lives with.