Teens recovering after suspected drug overdose
By: Amy Crofts
| Posted: Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013 04:15 pm
Two St. Albert teens are recovering from a suspected overdose of a synthetic hallucinogenic drug.
St. Albert RCMP received a report of an unconscious teen having seizures in a back alley near Mount Royal Drive around 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
The 14-year-old was transported to the Sturgeon Community Hospital then to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton via STARS Air Ambulance. As of Tuesday afternoon, he was breathing on his own but was still in the intensive care unit, RCMP said.
A short time after the first report, officers received a report of another teen in medical distress in a school parking lot near Mont Clare Place. The 16-year-old was transported to the Stollery and has since been released.
Police said they haven’t confirmed the specific drug the teens ingested but they suspect it was a synthetic cannabinoid drug commonly known as K2 or Spice.
“When they ingested the drug they had severe medical distress within one minute,” said Cpl. Laurel Kading with St. Albert RCMP. “We are very concerned because in investigating this … it was alleged to (them) it was a safe substance and they seem to feel it was legal.”
Health Canada issued a warning in July that these human-made herbal blends, which do not contain marijuana but produce powerful marijuana-like effects are often marketed as “smokeable herbal incense”, “exotic herbal incense” and “legal highs.”
The drugs are typically smoked or swallowed and sold in small sealed foil packets or in transparent pouches, often labelled “not for human consumption.”
They can be found for sale at some convenience stores, specialty tobacco stores and head shops.
Reactions to the drug can range from confusion and nausea, to seizures, psychotic episodes and in some cases, death. There have also been reports of users becoming addicted to these substances.
Superintendent of Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools, David Keohane, said the overdose incident will be a cautionary tale for students.
“If there’s any belief in the mind of a teen that there’s such a thing as a safe street drug, this incident has shown that that can’t be the case,” he said.
“The best way for any student to assure their wellbeing and their health is going to be cared for is to not trust the alleged safety of any street drug.”
The RCMP have not yet laid charges but a criminal investigation is underway.