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Legal Drug Raises Concerns

A product being sold as incense on Molokai is causing concern, especially for its possible abuse among students and teens who are reportedly smoking it. Known as Spice, K2, herbal incense and other names, the substance, legal in Hawaii, is classified as synthetic cannabis and is chemically blended with herbs. 

A Molokai High School teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed concern about the drug, saying students are using the substance. 

“Every parent needs to be aware of it,” the teacher said. “I would like to see this get out before it becomes an endemic.” 

Spice and related substances have been known to produce paranoia, panic attacks, giddiness, seizures, hallucinations and vomiting, along with increased blood pressure and heart rate, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Across the U.S., the number of calls to poison control centers related to the drug has doubled in the past year, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. 

Ka`ili Adachi, owner of The Tobacco Shack, which offers tobacco products and accessories in Kaunakakai, said she sells Spice. She said people need to research the product before jumping to conclusions, and attributes possible harmful side effects of the substance to its misuse, likening it to those who abuse spray paint by inhaling it. 

Describing Spice as “herbal incense,” Adachi said it is intended to be used in a room as incense, and its smoke has relaxing properties. It does not contain THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, and its packaged is labeled “not for human consumption,” she added. 

While the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers the drug a “hazard to the public safety,” they acknowledge that it is abuse of the drug that has caused such concern.

Adachi said it’s sold “everywhere in the state,” and is a normal offering in tobacco and head shops. Adachi has been carrying the product for only about two months, she said. 

“It was a requested item so it would be dumb not to bring it in…the popularity is growing,” she said.

Possible Student Use

The anonymous MHS teacher noted “a couple students who did really well last semester and are now struggling this semester,” attributing it to use of the drug. 

The same age regulations for tobacco apply for the purchase of Spice – age 18 minimum.

“How it’s getting into schools, I’m not sure,” Adachi said. “It means that someone is buying illegally for minors, and that’s the consumer’s responsibility, not mine.”

MHS Principal Stan Hao said the school hasn’t had any incidences of the drug to his knowledge, but said he’s aware of the substance and the school is already taking steps to minimize its harm. Drug educator Gary Shimabukuro will be speaking with students in an assembly on Thursday, addressing drugs being used around the world as “legal highs.” 

Hao said if Spice or similar drugs are found on campus, they will be dealt with as contraband. 

If students are “caught in the act,” disciplinary measures will be taken, he said, because any type of smoking is illegal on campus. Hao added that he has been in contact with police officers about its potential use.

Detective Eugene Santiago of the Molokai Police Department said patrol personnel haven’t yet encountered the substance on Molokai. 

National Concern

Though Spice and other synthetic cannabinoids are legal in the State of Hawaii, they have been banned in at least 18 states and several countries. In 2011, the DEA temporarily placed five synthetic cannabinoids under the Controlled Substances Act Schedule 1, indicating a high potential for abuse. The action was found “necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety,” according to the DEA. 

The National Institute of Drug Abuse reported that in an annual survey of eighth, 10th, and 12th-graders conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2011 results showed that 11.4 percent of 12th-graders reported use of Spice in the past year. 

“K2 and Spice are dangerous drugs that can cause serious harm,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy, in a December, 2011 press release. “We will continue to work with the public health and safety community to respond to this emerging threat but in the meantime, parents must take action.  Parents are the most powerful force in the lives of young people and we ask that all of them talk to their teens today about the serious consequences of using marijuana, K2, or spice.”

A public discussion of current drug trends, including Spice, will be held by Gary Shimabukuro this Thursday, Feb. 16, at UH Maui College, Molokai, room 107, from 10 a.m. to noon. 


7 Responses to “Legal Drug Raises Concerns”

  1. efnhaole says:

    The total diarrhea that passes for reason among some (drugged out) locals here is amazing. So it goes, if you haven’t experienced arsenic and you speak against eating it, you have no standing. And further, even if arsenic is bad for you, if you “aren’t from here”, you have no right to say so and should keep your mouth shut. Oh, and any local business is fine, regardless that they survive by sucking on the expensive, addictive habits of the local population who otherwise haven’t the money to feed their families properly but they pay $80/carton for their “legal” (but terminally stupid) habit? This is dumber than cow pies.

    Having kicked a 3 pack a day habit, I have some personal experience with tobacco and any way you cut it, it is bad chit. I’ve already paid a terrible price for it and the final tally won’t be in for some time. You should know that cigarettes, sugar and cocaine are the great white hopes…only they don’t kill off the locals fast enough, before they get the chance to breed, but they sure as hell kill’em. This spice garbage is more of the same. It may or may not not kill but it keeps’em stupid and living on Molokai.

    Don’t like my saying it? The truth often hurts. Suck it up.

  2. lopakapaka says:

    Shame on Adachi. Stop poisoning our youth. Tobacco is bad enough but this is documented shit for a few bucks. Total gr$$d. So a few kids a messed up for life is OK for Molokai merchants. Stop it now.

  3. HaoleDaMushman says:

    How unfortunate for Molokai that Ka`ili Adachi feels the need to import and promote poison.

    It really is quite logical and equally despicable that Adachi would support the proliferation of the ‘Spice’ across our island.

    Kids smoke it – they get dumb – start smoking ciggies
    Adachi gets a customer for life.

    Kids don’t smoke it – they stay smart – they get educated – know that smoking cigarettes is bad
    Adachi loses.

    Cigarettes are one thing, poison yes, but it is legal, the risks are well known and well publicized.

    Spice on the other hand is also poison, nasty poison that can and does send people off the deep end in to violent and psychotic behavior. For Adachi to claim that it is used as incense is absurd.

    Adachi sells death. Period. It is not good for Molokai. Hopefully the container business enforcement by Maui County sends the Tobacco Shack packing.

    The Tobacco Shack is not Pono. Not at all.

  4. HaoleDaMushman says:

    From WikiPedia:

    Research on the safety of synthetic cannabis is only now becoming available. Initial studies are focused on the role of synthetic cannabis and psychosis. It seems likely that synthetic cannabis can precipitate psychosis and in some cases it is prolonged. These studies suggest that synthetic cannabinoid intoxication is associated with acute psychosis, worsening of previously stable psychotic disorders, and also may have the ability to trigger a chronic (long-term) psychotic disorder among vulnerable individuals such as those with a family history of mental illness.

    Soooo, let me get this straight, if someone goes off the deep end on this stuff and beats the crap out of someone or kills themself, it is not Adachi’s fault, because the packaging says “not for human consumption”…..

  5. kd808 says:

    u born and raised on molokai?..or u jus one other outsider? u dont know shit of wat molokai living is truly about, we all gotta take care our own especially those businesses that trynna survive on an island where nothing is cheap and unemplyment is high. so mind ur own shit..

  6. HaoleDaMushman says:

    Hey HIT Happy to answer your questions….

    #1) Have I ever smoked weed?

    Yes. More than most. I have a blue card.

    #1A) Would I ever smoke “synthetic weed”?

    Never. Why would I if I can smoke the real thing?

    2)I have never met Adachi. Nothing personal at all.

    3) As for your assertion that “spice” is synthetic marijuana, please see my previous post for the evidence that it creates psychotic suicidal behavior that Molokai does not need.

    4) As for your idea that the Tobacco shack is a great little business, please, tobacco kills a lot of people and puts a huge burden our healthcare. If heroin were legal it would be like me setting up a heroin dealership in downtown molokai.

    The death store should be shut down immediately. Maybe she could re-open as a health store and sell running shoes or whole grains. The idea that a death store is a good fit for Molokai would make most people move to Texas.

  7. HAWAIIAN-in-TEXAS says:

    I got a few questions for “HaoleDaMushman”.
    1. Have you ever smoked spice or weed? If your answer is “NO”, then you have NO room to be speaking right now. YOu mention some accurate information about that product, however when you mention “Studies”, this is information you get from other people and there “studies” are what their opinion is about it.

    It seems from reading you posting, that you may have a personal issue towards Adachi.
    As a response back to your statement “if someone goes off the deep end on this stuff and beats the crap out of someone or kills themself, it is not Adachi’s fault, because the packaging says “not for human consumption”…..”. It is NOT her fault for them doing that. #1. This product is not ICE or COCAIN. Its simply a synthetic marijuana. Look at whats going on with the real shit we have today. Now which would you choose? O wait, you dont smoke, so whats th purpose of asking you you wouldnt know a thing. Thats th problem with peole now-a-days, they think they know everything. But look,if you havent experienced it for yourself, then just shut your mouth.
    As for the Tobacco Shack itself. I think it is a good idea that she had to start this little business. I was born and raised on Molokai. The financial hardships for everyone was through the roof. “OUTSIDERS” need to keep their mouths shut and be thankfull for ALL businesses on Molokai, let it be from a little side shop to big business. All the money generated on Molokai Stays on Molokai. Thats how it should be.
    So i say again, it seems that you have a personal issue with Adachi, you should solve it in person instead of talking trash on the internet. Becuase let me tell you, it aint gonna be so good.
    You have yourself an amazing day. MAhalo ke akua.

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