Young Men Hardest Hit by Fake Pot | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Young Men Hardest Hit by Fake Pot

According to a new government report, synthetic cannabinoids accounted for more than 11,000 ER admissions in 2010.


K2 is landing lots of kids in the ER. Photo via

By Hunter R. Slaton


| Share

Synthetic marijuana—often marketed under street names such as K2 or Spice—accounted for 11,406 emergency-room visits in 2010, according to a new report from SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (The total number of drug-related ER visits that year was 2.3 million.) And it's a unique cohort that is landing itself in the hospital as a result of smoking these substances, with a relatively low age range: 75% of the ER admits for synthetic cannabinoids were for young people ages 12 to 29, with an average age of 24—and a third of these total visits were 12–17-year-olds. Compare that to ER admissions for real pot, where the average age is 30.

It's also mostly males—78%—smoking this stuff (or, at least, getting bombed bad enough on it to necessitate a trip to the ER). Another interesting detail is that, for the majority of synthetic dope ER admissions (59%), no other drug was involved—whereas with other illegal drugs, a majority of hospital trips involve drug combos. Just 36% of synthetics users were doing another drug alongside the designer substances, the most common of which were pot (17%), pills (17%) and alcohol (13%). Commenting on the report, US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske said, “Make no mistake—the use of synthetic cannabinoids can cause serious, lasting damage, particularly in young people.”

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
An Audience with Gabor Maté

According to the rock star of addiction theory, every addict had a traumatic childhood whether they realize it or not.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv