Salem mom warns of synthetic pot risk

Salem mom warns of synthetic pot risk

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by Anne Yeager, KGW staff

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kgw.com

Posted on August 18, 2010 at 7:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 19 at 12:22 PM

SALEM – A Salem mother wants state lawmakers to ban synthetic marijuana from being sold in Oregon stores after her teenage son suffered severe hallucinations from it.

The boy, 16, was rushed to the emergency room early Monday morning after smoking the synthetic marijuana and having an especially strong reaction to it.

"He was shaking and saying, ‘please mom don't let me die,’" Sherry, the boy's mother, recalled. She wanted to keep her last name and her son’s name anonymous.

"He was panicking… His hands were going numb and tingling," she said. "He would go to sleep and stop breathing. For a good hour-and-a-half, I had to remind my son to breathe."

Many parents have struggled with similar experiences nationwide.

Newschannel 8 exposed synthetic pot, which goes by the street names of "Spice" or "Buzzed." It includes a chemical known as JWH-018, which promises a bigger high than marijuana.

It's perfectly legal for adults to purchase in Oregon and Washington. The boy told his mom that he asked a homeless man to buy the synthetic pot for him at a local smoke shop. "It's more dangerous than marijuana," said Tom Parker, with the Oregon Partnership, a non-profit agency to end substance abuse. "It's sprayed with a synthetic substance which induces, in a lot of cases, hallucinations."

"My concern is that the user doesn't know what they're getting into when they are buying a bag, " added Dr. Robert Hendrickson, with the Oregon Poison Center.

For that reason, Sherry wants lawmakers to ban it entirely.

She doesn't want more parents to go through what she did.

"I can't even tell you how it feels to tell your son to breathe or you're not going to let him die."

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