More kids hospitalized after smoking synthetic drugs

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DENVER -- More kids hospitalized Friday after smoking a drug marketed as synthetic marijuana but doctors say it's nowhere near the same and much more dangerous.

It is a disturbing trend, especially heading into a holiday weekend where doctors worry more kids will be out looking for a good time. Doctors say nothing good comes from this drug, and the consequences can be fatal.

The synthetic drug can be bought at convenience stores around Denver. Dr. G. Sam Wang is a toxicologist at Children’s Hospital and says the drugs go by several names, and come with severe side effects. Dr. Wang says patients come in feeling, "extremely agitated,” and can be psychotic, with hallucinations.

Jeff Maes is a father of two who is worried about what these drugs can do to kids, especially because they’re so accessible. "To think an innocent high school kid could get a hold of this, and go through those effects it creates like violence and erratic behavior, it's pretty scary."

Carol Heitz is a grandmother who shares similar concerns. "Think of the hundreds that didn’t get to the E.R and are just violently ill and don’t tell their parents."

The drugs have been illegal since 2011, and police have cracked down. An arrest affidavit from May shows Jerry's Market near 6th Avenue was selling "Spice."

Rosalie Sanchez Ronshaugen told FOX 31 she is the building owner, and says the store was raided by police and the drug no longer sold there. "I have children and grandchildren. of course I don’t want anyone getting high."

But doctors say the products are still on store shelves around town because drug makers are changing the chemical compounds that have been deemed illegal. Dr. Robert Lance is a Toxicologist at Rocky Mountain Labs and says, "the chemists… are ahead of law enforcement, and always will be."

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