Some individuals have gone to great lengths to experience altered states or “highs.” When we think of getting high, the images that comes to most peoples mind is illegal drugs or alcohol. That is not always the case. There are legal or easily accessible items that could be used to induce a high. The methods used may include inhaling household products, inhaling gasoline, abusing prescription and over the counter medication, and various products advertised at Head Shops (local retail shops that specialize in drug paraphernalia related to consumption of cannabis and other recreational drugs).

If a product is legal, it may not mean it is safe. A new trend is synthetic marijuana, K2, spice, or fake weed. It looks similar to marijuana and individuals who use it would not come up positive on hair analysis or urinalysis. This product can be legally obtained over the internet, Head Shops, or even gas stations. It was first introduced around 1990 but in the last few years has become more popular. The ingredients include a chemical made to mimic THC (the main chemical in marijuana that produces the high). The producers of this imply in their advertisements the drug is organic but that is not the case. The component that produces the high is made in a laboratory.

Due to it’s relative newness, there is not a lot of data out on the long term effects it produces. We do know that some studies indicate the high is similar to that of marijuana but may not have the long term effects of a marijuana high. Some of the side effects may include feelings of paranoia, anxiety, and depression. Just like other potential drugs of abuse, there is the concern that individuals will rely too much on it for relaxation or to reach the desired effects. This prevents individuals from developing their own methods or coping skills to address personal issues. There are not any legal regulations on making this product , at this time, and some of the chemicals may be mixed in home laboratories resulting in imprecise mixtures that could make the effects of its use unpredictable and even dangerous.

There are some states that have banned it or have introduced legislation to ban it. Parents could help address this issue by talking about it with their children. Rather than focusing on whether or not the product is legal, we may miss the point that the drug is harmful to children.

Author's Bio: 

Mark Myers received his Master of Social Work Degree from Loyola University in 1987. He has been practicing in the helping profession since 1981. He is an Illinois Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 1990. Also, since 1988, he is a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor. Mr. Myers provides counseling to individuals, couples, children and adolescents for a variety of areas including: drug and alcohol abuse, parenting issues, marital issues, depression, anxiety, and anger issues. He presents workshops and consultations to mental health professionals and the community from the mental health and addictions fields.

Professional Orientation
His professional approach focuses on behavior and thought. Mr. Myers uses strategies to enhance problem solving skills, communication, and coping skills. According to research findings, there is a strong relationship between our thoughts and our emotions. By understanding and becoming more aware of this relationship, individuals will be able to redirect unproductive thought and behavioral patterns. Mr. Myers also encourages tapping into our own resources using handouts, readings, and therapeutic exercises. He works in partnership with individuals to change behaviors and thoughts. This approach allows individuals to continue to grow even after therapy ends.

Mr. Myers has provided numerous presentations to schools, business professionals, and community members. He has offered lectures in the following areas: substance abuse, anger management, communication skills, stress management, general wellness, and steroid abuse. He has also consulted to school districts, hospitals, corporations and agencies in various capacities.