Mom says 'fake pot' nearly killed children
Posted September 21, 2010 4:55 p.m. EDT
Updated October 24, 2010 6:32 p.m. EDT
Lillington, N.C. — A Lillington mother says her two teenage children almost died Monday evening after smoking an incense that mirrors the effects of marijuana.
Kaylee Jones, 17, and her 14-year-old stepbrother bought the synthetic herb, called K2, at a gas station in Harnett County.
Shortly after smoking it, their mother, Vallory Koski said, they were rushed to a local hospital with high pulse rates.
Doctors told Koski the teens nearly went into cardiac arrest.
"Her heart rate got up to 178 beats (per minute) when it should be 100, and my stepson's got up to 162," Koski said. "They almost died last night because of this legal synthetic marijuana."
The substance, readily available and legal in North Carolina, is sold under many different names as an aromatherapy incense.
The package warns it is not for human consumption, but a recent WRAL News investigation uncovered that many people are buying and smoking it to get high.
Several states have already banned K2, but not North Carolina.
"I think it needs to be banned," Koski said.
Although it is not illegal, it is on the radar of some local lawmakers
Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, says lawmakers have had some discussion in the General Assembly about K2, and he wants to push for legislation in the next session to make the substance illegal.
For now, Koski is warning other teens and parents through her family’s story.
"It seems like it's really becoming a big problem, and something really needs to be done."
John Huffman, a Clemson University chemist who developed the product while doing pharmaceutical research, told WRAL News that the research did not shed any light on the safety of the product and that he is not responsible for its recreational use.