Advocates: New Yorkers Need a Public Education and Health Approach to Deal with Emerging Drugs
Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued regulations and the New York State Senate introduced a bill that would criminalize the sales of synthetic cannabinoids.
Recently, there have been several media reports of tragic episodes involving synthetic cannabinoids, such as spice and K2. Epidemiological reports suggest an increase in hospitalizations due to these substances.
Synthetic cannabinoids are a class of cannabinoid chemicals typically sprayed over plant matter and packaged with names like “K2,” “Spice” and “Green Giant.” These are only the latest “legal highs” to come on the market that simulate the effects of prohibited drugs like marijuana, ecstasy (MDMA), opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine.
In the past, as these kind of substances have been banned, manufacturers have simply invented new variations of the same substances to skirt the bans as well as for legitimate scientific purposes.
“New York needs to find effective, evidence-based strategies for responding to problematic use of these substances," said Kassandra Frederique, policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "Unfortunately, however, to date, the response from the media and from elected officials has been to employ failed drug war strategies and rhetoric.