New teen drug trend has officials worried
Officials are worried about a new recreational drug trend among Berlin youths called "Spice" that could lead to permanent physical damage, daily Der Tagesspiegel reported on Monday.
Spice is apparently just a harmless and legal mix of herbs meant to provide an aromatic smell as an air freshener, manufacturers say. But teens are rolling the substance into cigarettes to get a marijuana like high, officials told the paper.
“The high is supposed to last longer,” emergency drug abuse worker Michael Frommhold told the paper. “Sometimes it lasts between six and eight hours.”
But because Spice, unlike marijuana, is sold legally in head shops across the city, authorities told the paper their hands are tied when it comes to preventing kids from smoking.
Recent weeks have shown a steep increase in reports of Spice misuse, Frommhold said, adding that it is a psychoactive substance that can lead to hallucinations and psychological problems. “It can lead to anxiety attacks all the way to schizophrenia,” he told the paper. Many head shops around town have reported long waiting lists for new deliveries of the product, and say the "Spice Diamond" packets are most popular.
Berlin’s drug commissioner Christine Köhler-Azara and Federal Drug Commissioner Sabine Bätzing have issued warnings about smoking the substance and officials plan to review how to regulate its use in the coming weeks, Der Tagesspiegel reported.
“One should under no circumstances consider Spice as a harmless natural drug,” Bätzing has said.