Reporting the news in Mexico can be a deadly occupation, especially for those covering the drug war. But where militant thugs have been successful in stifling the media, they are virtually powerless against those who have taken to social media to “report” the war.
It’s not only Mexican residents caught in the crossfire taking to Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, those across the border in the U.S. are also using social media as a tool. Residents are using social media to protect themselves from the drug cartels that stop at nothing to push their product and protect their turf.
The violence began in earnest when the Mexican president declared war on drugs, but crept up another few notches when two major partnering cartels split and declared war on each other. Since the declarations of war, it is estimated that as many as 100,000 people have been killed and another 30,000 have seemingly vanished into thin air. Many residents try to escape the most violent areas, which has put more than 200,000 in a displaced status.
Some of the only news sources available now are through Twitter and Facebook. While news footage once came from the major broadcast companies in Mexico, camera phones with crudely edited footage of the war between the government and the cartels is being placed on YouTube instead. Media outlets in the U.S. are also depending on these amateur videos as their go-to source for footage.
America’s ongoing drug dependency is fueling this war. About 90 percent of illicit drugs making their way into the U.S. are coming through Mexico. The biggest cash crop, so to speak, continues to be cocaine.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 5 million Americans said they had at one point or other abused cocaine. While those numbers pale in comparison to the drug’s peak in 1982 (10.5 million were believed to be using the drug in that year), it’s still enough to fuel a drug war that is taking lives.
24 Jan 2013
Synthetic marijuana, also known as synthetic pot or synthetic cannabis, is the name given to a group of products made from a combination of natural plant material and any one of a number of different chemicals called synthetic cannabinoids. When they enter your brain, these chemicals produce an effect that closely mimics the effects of the natural cannabinoid in marijuana called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. In 2012, the U.S. government banned the production, sale and/or possession of the cannabinoids found in the most widely distributed forms of synthetic marijuana, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency followed up this new legislation with a nationwide raid on distributors of these products.
Synthetic drugs come with many names and just as many man-made chemicals, not all of which are safe for human consumption. As is proven in the multitude of emergency room visits, some of them contain chemicals that are toxic.
06 Dec 2012
Sold under street names like Spice, K2, Black Mamba, Mr. Smiley, Mr. Nice Guy and Red X Dawn, synthetic marijuana has managed to fool young people into cruel addiction under the guise of a safe alternative to illegal pot. The substance was banned by the Federal government this past summer but not before young people were sucked into the lie that somehow a man-made version of the drug could provide all of the benefits and none of the dangers posed by naturally occurring marijuana.
26 May 2012
The use of "spice," a combination of synthetic cannabinoids, could result in problems that require emergency medical attention. A recent study led by Christopher Hoyte, MD, from the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, found that the use of synthetic cannabinoids can lead to serious problems, including psychosis, paranoia and even death.
23 Jun 2011
Synthetic marijuana has been available since 2006 but has recently gained in popularity. Sold under the names of K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Blaze, and Red X Dawn, it was touted as the legal marijuana and was, therefore, a very attractive alternative to the real thing. But, as the prescription drug epidemic has shown, legal doesn’t mean safe.
In March of 2011, the DEA issued a statement that prohibited the production, possession, and sale of any of the five different chemicals that are used to produce fake marijuana. This makes its byproducts such as K2 and Spice illegal as well.
Harmful Side Effects of Fake Marijuana
Synthetic marijuana was sold at tobacco shops and gas stations, and was marketed as tea, incense, or herbs. The herbs were sprayed with chemicals that mimic the psychoactive properties of THC. Unlike marijuana, though, fake pot cannot be combined with alcohol without making the person extremely ill. Dawn Dearden, spokeswoman for the DEA also points out that since these synthetic marijuana substitutes are not produced in a controlled environment, their purity and dosage are not regulated or consistent.
Since these compounds have only been around since 2006, their long-term side effects have not been well-studied or documented. However, acute side effects of fake marijuana include trouble breathing, heart palpitations, panic attacks, hallucinations, vomiting, and seizures. There have also been two reported cases of suicide that have resulted from hallucinations.
Synthetic Marijuana’s Chemicals Stay in the Body Longer than THC
While chemicals in synthetic marijuana mimic the effects of THC, they are very different. THC doesn’t stay in a person’s system for very long, whereas, the chemicals used to make K2 and Spice are stronger and bind more permanently to receptors in the body. They remain longer in the brain and other organs. They are also not as quick to bind to receptors in the body as THC, which means that there is an increased risk of overdose as individuals ingest more because they can’t immediately feel its effects.
K2 and Spice do not show up in traditional urine analysis either, which makes them even more attractive. According to the Los Angeles Times, ten individuals in one month were admitted to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego for treatment of psychosis resulting from the use of Spice. Many of the individuals experienced paranoia, delusions, and suicidal thoughts that did not go away for up to a week. Others, however, were not so lucky, with symptoms persisting three months after the exposure.
Synthetic Marijuana Hard to Detect in Tests
The drugs also are a cause of concern for residential drug rehab patients. With only one very expensive test available to test its presence, many drug rehabs cannot afford to test everyone; those in recovery could easily sneak it on the side and appear “clean.” Because of its accessibility, teens are also another target for the drug. Rehabilitation centers have already documented incidences of teens addicted to the strong chemicals lacing K2 and Spice.
Those who have developed a dependence on fake marijuana can benefit from treatment at a marijuana rehab center.