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More NJ Teens Using Synthetic Drugs To Get High [AUDIO]

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Packed as potpourri or incense and sold in convenience stores, the use of synthetic drugs is on the rise for many teens. While they are banned in New Jersey, its not stopping your son or daughter from getting their hands on them.

Nearly one in nine high school seniors have gotten high in the past year on synthetic drugs known as K2 or bath salts that mimic marijuana, according to a survey by “Monitoring the Future.”

Steve Liga, executive director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Middlesex County, says despite a ban enacted earlier this year in New Jersey, many gas stations and stores are unaware they are selling the synthetic drugs.

“It’s gonna take a long time for stores to realize that they are selling a product that shouldn’t be sold…and for law enforcement to find out that they are, its gonna take awhile for this stuff to get off the shelves.”

Liga says young people don’t understand the dangers of using the drugs, “The chemically coated herbs can cause anxiety attacks, elevated heart rates and suicidal thoughts.”

Poison control centers handled 5,741 calls about the drugs in the first 10 months of 2011, nearly double the 2,915 calls received in all of 2010, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Federal officials became so alarmed that the Drug Enforcement Administration used its emergency powers in March to outlaw the substances. More than 40 states have also passed laws banning them.

“The next survey we do in spring 2012 will tell us a lot about how this ban has worked” said Liga.

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