SACRAMENTO, CA - More teens and young adults are turning to "bath salts" and "incense", synthetic drugs, to get a high.
Incense, also called K2 or spice, mimics the effects of marijuana. Bath salts, dubbed "fake cocaine," are said to be as powerful as abusing methamphetamine or cocaine.
More young adults are turning to the drugs because they are easy to get.
"Yeah , I've smoked it. It's like an artificial marijuana," student Sara Novi said about spice "It's like smoking marijuana. It's really easy to get."
"It's pretty easy. You just need someone 18 to get it," student Darin Morgan said.
Morgan, who is currently in a drug rehab program, said he tried it because he didn't have any marijuana. He said his friends introduced him to it.
"Seventy percent of the young people who come through our doors have used it (spice)," psychologist and founder of Full Circle Treatment Center Dr. Angela Chanter said.
Many teens also said they use it because it can go undetected by standard drug tests.
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"A lot of people do it on probation," student Darri Orrason said. "They can't smoke weed or anything like that. They turn to spice."
Bath salts have also been popular among teens.
"Bath salts, I hear a lot about people starting to shoot them up," Orrason said.
Medical experts said it can lead to extreme paranoia, delusion, and hallucinations. The drugs have been linked to overdoses, violent incidents and deaths nationwide.
"We had three cases in six months of people coming in on bath salts," Chanter said.
"I've had a couple of friends overdose on them," Morgan said. "I've had a friend overdose on it several times. He has been in the hospital from it."
The DEA banned several chemical compounds in incense. However, manufacturers switched up the formula and kept selling the drugs.
Anyone over the age of 18 can legally purchase herbal incenses in smoke shops, headshops or convenience stores.
News10 checked with a dozen different businesses in the Sacramento area to see if they carry bath salts and incense. Two shops said to "just come on in" because they carry both. Most stores said they had no bath salts. Several stores said they definitely carry incense.
Two California bills are on Gov. Jerry Brown's desk for review because the designer drugs are considered to be dangerous. The bills would outlaw the sale and distribution of the drugs, which many states have banned, but are legal in California.
Both bills have yet to be signed into law or vetoed.
By Suzanne Phan, firstname.lastname@example.org