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Sale of 'incense' is a public health issue, and moral one as well

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

I am writing to alert all parents and concerned citizens about the use and the availability of a dangerous product commonly called "incense", or "fakin'"
Also known as "Spice" or "K2". It is a synthetic marijuana product. It has serious addictive and side effects that case serious health and emotional consequences.

It has become a popular replacement of marijuana for several reasons.
It is not currently illegal to purchase or to consume/smoke. It can be purchased without consequence at certain convenience stores located right here in our community. It usually will not show up in blood work or urine samples for those who are monitored by their employers or under parole/probation requirements. But it isn't long before results of use show in personal behavior and appearance — obvious warning signs of drug use.

Now some details: incense is typically sold in shiny plastic pouches in a variety of colors and flavors, that contain about 4 grams of a herbal product which is sprayed with synthetic THC. It causes a high similar to marijuana, but often with much more serious side effects. Side effects that are common are seizures, tremors, stupor, vomiting, increased blood pressure/heart rate.
It is also very addictive which results in serious behavior changes that often lead to a person to be so addicted that daily living disintegrates. Because the addiction becomes the focus and all else becomes secondary. The results are often loss of employment, housing, criminal behavior and hospitalization.

Our local police departments are frustrated and concerned. It is difficult to stop the legal sale of this product. Once a particular formula is banned the ingredients are adjusted or changed just enough to avoid typical law enforcement efforts.

I speak from personal experience. I know three young people in their 20s who lives have been seriously affected. Loss of employment, hospitalization, and an arrest due to sealing money to pay for the incense. I have spoken to the Chief Chris Adams (Laconia Police), Chief Robert Cormier (Tilton Police) and Detective Raechel Moulton (Belmont Police). They are all deeply concerned and doing their best to find ways to stop the sale and use of incense. Again the problem is that it can be legally sold as the formulation is adjusted each time a particular formula becomes banned or becomes illegal to sell.

Therefore, I believe that this is a public health issue and a moral issue.
It's a public health concern because of the addictive qualities of incense and the serious health and emotional side effects. It is a moral issue because local store owners and proprietors are selling this product with the knowledge of its negative side effects and the desire of our local police departments to stop altered Incense from being sold. The sale of incense is real income booster for the stores because of the very high markup potential. Profits and staying in business are strong motivators in selling any product no matter its consequences.

If you are also concerned or have your own personal experience regarding incense, please consider taking some action to help our communities become free of this dangerous and addictive product. I know that the police officials I spoke to, all will welcome hearing from concerned citizens and family members. Also call your local clergy or state representatives and share your concern. If you know of a store that is selling incense for consumption/smoking. Please consider expressing your concern and that you may shop elsewhere.

For additional information, Google synthetic marijuana. Or go to: www.drugfreeaz.org Look up Synthetic Marijuana "Parent Alert".

John Rogers