Understanding synthetic drug addiction - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Understanding synthetic drug addiction

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Drug reporting often focuses on law enforcement, health concerns and societal impact. It rarely includes the voice of drug abusers.

In an effort to understand what it's like to smoke synthetic drugs, FOX28's Alexis Gray interviewed a drug addict in South Bend. He asked us to not use his real name in order to conceal his identity. We are referring to him by the name "Terrell."

"It's really an enjoyment when you start it," said Terrell. "But it turns into a routine. And once it turns into a routine, it's mental, and it makes it feel  like it's a need."

Terrell says he smokes 12 blunts of synthetic drugs a day. He's not alone. He says most of his friends are on synthetics, and eve his own father.

"On synthetics, you take one or two hits and you get super high."

Terrell says he gets high faster and with more intensity than with natural marijuana. In addition to the speedy high, he says his friends prefer synthetics drugs over weed because they believe that the drug doesn't show up on generic employer drug tests. He says he's passed three tests and still hasn't been caught.

But not getting caught comes with a serious cost. Terrell says his friend recently died from a synthetic drug overdose. He was 17 years old. Terrell says he's lived through a scary situation himself.

"I hit the blunt one time and I immediately got high. I hit the blunt again and it was like... I just blacked out. I don't know what happened."

According to Lt. Bill Sullivan, the chief paramedic at Elkhart Fire Dept., blacking out is indicative of experiencing a synthetic overdose. That makes the task of arriving to an overdose seen even more dangerous for medics.
    
"They don't know who we are why we're there," said Lt. Sullivan. "They don't seem to be in their right mind and that becomes a safety issue for us."

Terrell says he's getting help from a treatment facility. He is an expecting father, and says he wants to quit before his baby is born.

"That's everyday I think about that. Yeah I get afraid sometimes. Because I don't want to die off it. I don't."

For a list of treatment facilities  near you visit:
http://www.treatment-centers.net/directory/indiana/south-bend.html
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