DENVER (CBS4)– A new trend is putting children’s health at risk and the DEA is focusing on Denver to bring attention to this dangerous drug combination.
The Drug Enforcement Administration asked CBS4 to warn parents about e-cigarettes where the cartridges of the vapor pens are being filled with synthetic marijuana.
“This is something so new we haven’t actually seen the effects of it out on the streets yet,” said Special Agent in Charge Barbara Roach of the DEA, Denver Division.
Roach said it’s become the latest trend which attracts the younger set, “It’s the cool factor for kids.”
Several e-cigarette cartridges were seized in a recent major synthetic marijuana bust by the DEA. Those cartridges were filled with the synthetic canabanoid called spice.
Nine men indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver were arrested in Colorado and several other states on charges of conspiracy and drug distribution as part of a national crackdown on synthetic drugs.
Roach said the Denver Division of the DEA is the first to report the synthetic pot e-cigs and they want parents to know about it so they can talk with their children.
“When you see that odd package, look at it… investigate it and go see what it is. Look it up online or call somebody,” said Roach.
The typical users of the e-cigarettes are boys and men ages 12 to 29 years.
“Most kids are doing it because it’s a lot easier to hide. The smell is not as pungent as marijuana,” said teenager Caiden Lawton.
Caiden said he has tried spice and that his brother is one of the many who ended up in the hospital from an overdose in the past year.
“That’s worse than smoking it because with an e-cigarette it burns it a different way than just with a lighter and makes it more concentrated,” said teenager Romea Sabedra-Lopez.
Roach said e-cigarettes also have a wide appeal because they are socially acceptable and can disguise drug use.
“You see a guy using an e-cigarette on a ski lift, at the airport waiting to get on the train, waiting on the corner, you don’t know if he’s using tobacco, marijuana or spice,” said Roach.
Colorado has become the focal point of the spice trends investigation by the DEA because a lot of people and businesses pushing the drug are located in this state.