Houston bans synthetic drug kush

Houston bans synthetic drug kush

Houston City Council on Wednesday unanimously voted to put a ban on kush - a designer drug that is sometimes referred to as synthetic marijuana.

Law enforcement agencies have been struggling to enforce a 2011 state law against kush because that law targets the chemical makeup of the drug, while dealers have tweaked into dozens of variants of the drug to avoid prosecution.

The latest move by city council is expected to choke off the drug's supply by targeting the way it is labeled, marketed and sold. Health experts say the drug can cause permanent brain damage and immediate behavioral changes.

Trudy Wollgast, who has worked at a sobering center, an alternative to jail for inebriates, said users of kush were becoming more and more frequent, common, aggressive and unpredictable. The number of kush users jump from
10-15 during weekdays to 20-30 on weekends.

Speaking on the growing issue, Wollgast said, "They're violent, they have uncontrolled outbursts, they have psychotic episodes. We recently had a 35-year-old male that was relatively healthy smoking kush. We sent him to the hospital because he was complaining of chest pain. He ended up having a heart attack."

Prior to the recent ban, users were able to buy packets of the synthetic drug, labeled incense or potpourri, for as little as $1 from convenience stores. The growing sales and use of kush and other similar drugs prompted the U. S. Drug Enforcement Agency to label Houston as a key market and source of synthetic marijuana.