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Ferndale Addresses Its Concern with “Spice”

Since the early 2000s there has been a marijuana alternative nicknamed, “spice.” Over the years it has evolved from a combination of ‘medicinal’ herbs to including synthetic cannabinoids found in a lab analysis in 2008. Synthetic cannabinoids are similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (aka THC) found naturally in marijuana and credited with providing the “high” associated with it. Legally sold as incense or bath salts and labeled “not for human consumption,” spice ranks 2nd behind marijuana in popularity with high school seniors.

According to Wikipedia, it is typically purchased “online, in head shops, and at some gas stations.”

Here in Ferndale, it has become enough of a concern to warrant our high school principal to put parents on notice with this recent email:

December 2014

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Dear Golden Eagle Parents and Guardians

I am writing this letter to notify you of a recent development and disturbing trend we are seeing at Ferndale High School. This year we have seen a dramatic increase in the use of synthetic marijuana or “spice” among some of our students. “Spice” is smoked it to get a high with the onset of its effect in 3-5 minutes with duration from 1-8 hours depending on amount taken. The health effects are extreme and varied. Across the country, there are people reportedly dying of heart attacks, suffering from lung failure, extreme and uncontrollable rages, high blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, psychosis, and other health symptoms, linked to smoking “spice”. This is what troubles me the most, the unpredictable and possibly catastrophic effects on the users. In fact, we have had several paramedic calls to campus to provide medical attention to students that were under the influence of “spice”.

Although it has been banned in several states, it is still legally sold in Washington State.

“Spice” mixtures are easy to purchase at some convenience stores, some gas stations and via the internet and is sold under the brand names of: K2, Haze, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Bliss, Blaze, and JWH-018. “Spice” is sold in small foil packets and is sold as incense or potpourri. Unfortunately, some of our own local Ferndale businesses are making the choice to sell “spice”. We are reaching out to those businesses to stop the sale of these type of products.

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Please take the time to review the websites below to learn more about the facts and information with “spice” then please talk with your son or daughter about its dangers.

Resources for Parents:
· Partnership for a Drug-Free America,
· Start Talking Now,
· Whatcom Prevention Coalition,
· National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA),
· Learn About Marijuana,

If you have concerns your child may be using “spice” or any other substance, consult your student’s counselor, our intervention specialist, our school nurse, your family physician, or a chemical dependency professional.

The FHS counseling office can be reached at 383-9252 or Mrs. Harrison, our Invention Specialist, can be reached at 383-9282.

Student safety is my highest priority and the increase in usage of “spice” and its unpredictable effects is very concerning to me.

Please let us know how we can help,

Aaron Kombol
Ferndale High School

A quick survey of gas stations on or near Main Street in Ferndale by Discover Ferndale revealed that out of the six, one does sell a “spice” product and has been for years according to the owner (not wanting to make it any easier for minors to locate the product, Discover Ferndale has chosen not to identify the location).

It is being sold for $9.99 and kept behind the counter. The station owner said that when his current inventory runs out, he will not reorder more. He also said that may be a while because it there hasn’t been much demand since legalization of marijuana in our State.

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