Gulf Coast Substance Abuse Task Force urges parents to pay attention to kids

Gulf Coast Substance Abuse Task Force urges parents to pay attention to kids

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - You're hearing more and more about people involved with illegal synthetic drug known as spice. In many cases the side effects put the users in the hospital. That was the case Thursday at D'Iberville High School where four students were reportedly caught in a vehicle at the school's parking lot with spice.

Three of the teens were transported to the hospital. Is anything being done to keep that deadly trend from taking over South Mississippi's youth?

Right now, it's unclear which drug peddler the students got the spice from and what ingredients are to blame for putting three of them in the hospital. What is clear--is the growing use of spice.

And how it's marketed to kids in small bags disguised with harmless cartoon characters or thrown in packages like these.

"It can be sealed with the zipper and then sealed across the top, so it looks like a commercially prepared package," said Biloxi Police Lt. Aldon Hel Mert who is a member of the Gulf Coast Substance Abuse Task Force.

None of that sits well with the Gulf Coast Substance Abuse Task Force.

"We deal with issues pertaining to kids and drugs and substance abuse and things like that and we try to educate law enforcement and the community about what the new trends are that are potentially harmful for kids," said Biloxi Police Chief John Miller. Miller is the Gulf Coast Substance Abuse Task Force board president.

Hel Mert says spreading the word about the small packs of synthetic marijuana is key to combating use.

"All segments in society, we have seen an increase in spice use. Because people are using spice to subvert any random drug screenings. Whether it be a student or whether it be an employee or a probationer, people are using the synthetic marijuana, so that it doesn't show up in a drug screening," Hel Mert explained.

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect to spice are the unknowns. Authorities says spice ingredients change so frequently and are often laced with an assortment of deadly chemicals. The task force says that's why parents need to pay attention.

"Listen to what we're saying listen to us. I know we all are busy and a lot of times we think our kids are doing the right thing. Kids are going to be kids. You need to stick your nose in their business," said Miller.

"Be aware of what's going on with your children. And stay on top of what your children are doing. Any mark difference in behavior or any patterns of sleep or otherwise need to be noted and documented with themselves," said Hel Mert.

Last month two people died in Hancock County from spice. And Harrison County is investigating several deaths believed to be spice related.

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