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Could 9, Legal and Deadly

by Ned Wicker
(Wisconsin)

It’s the kind of thing that drives law enforcement and public health officials nuts. The kids take this stuff, but there isn’t a drug test for it. It’s legal, sold in smoke shops, gas stations and novelty stores.

We have been dealing with the “bath salts” issue for some time and one of the dangerous, and potentially fatal products is called Cloud 9. It’s a synthetic, manufactured to mimic Meth Amphetamine or Cocaine, but unlike some of the other synthetics out there, like K2, Cloud 9 is considered far more dangerous, although K2 is bad enough. Cloud 9 is inhaled via an electronic cigarette.

No medical value

Cloud 9 is a Schedule I drug, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Like the other synthetic cannabinoids, it has no medical purpose and all the potential for great health risk. Many states have cracked down on Spice and K2, but Cloud 9 is still new, and because drug manufacturers are brewing up their own batches of this drug, it’s very difficult for drug enforcement to keep up with the growing demand. It is, after all, technically legal. The authorities have a problem, even when young people wind up dead in emergency rooms.

In 2014, a bill was passed that gave states the authority to fight synthetic drugs to have them declared illegal. But government moves slowly, and a community effort is needed to spur action, although according to Michigan Senator Rick Jones, action can be taken as quickly as 10 days.

The problem now is it’s legal. Gas stations sell it to kids. The label is plain, and a whiff of this “bath salt” is pleasant, a light fruity smell. When used in an electric cigarette, the vapor is odorless. But the effects can be devastating. Kids will take a drop and put it on chewing gun, or mix it into a soft drink, not knowing that this drug can cause a heart attack.

The drug can also cause hallucinations and thoughts of suicide. The obvious medical risks are compounded by the inability of many young people to make a well-informed, rational decision, when faced with peer pressure and the lure of instant gratification. Young people think they are invincible and say, “Oh that would never happen to me.”

Cloud 9 often causes BIG problems!

Taking a legal product may seem like a rather small decision, but small decisions can escalate into big problems. Cloud 9 is addictive, and the euphoric rush it produces is similar to that of cocaine. Because young people like the high, they may overdose. Most recently, high school students are the ones targeted to purchase Cloud 9.

Some students have been putting it into marijuana cigarettes, while others take it with energy drinks. Some sellers claim its an air freshener. There is no regulation on this product, so what a buyer is getting is somewhat of a mystery, although commonly there is Epsom salt, sodium bar-carbonate, sodium chloride, along with other common chemicals. The recipe for this changes, as manufacturers strive to stay one step ahead of the law. The label is no help, it’s unregulated and there is no legal reason to share any information.
Some parents are scared and they should be. Young people are known for making bad decisions and the Cloud 9 users, like any synthetic drug user, are playing fast and loose with their lives. It just takes one small, but bad decision to end a life.

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