Concerns surrounding increased synthetic drug use continue to rise. As the prevalence of designer drugs like K2 and "bath salts" increases, local institutions are ratcheting up efforts intended to stymie the trend.
"It is in our community, and we have an opportunity to be better informed and make a difference," Vickie Lewis, director of the Substance Abuse Treatment Center of Central Iowa (SATUCI), said.
SATUCI, along with Youth Partners Coalition and the Marshalltown Community School District, will bring Linda Kalin, director of the Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center, to Marshalltown to speak on the dangers of these drugs.
Large amounts of K2 and “bath salts” seized by the mid-Iowa Drug Task Force. The drugs are often marketed with intense-sounding names as herbal incense.
Kalin will inform parents about the drugs and what they can do to prevent their children from using them 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Marshalltown City Council Chambers, 24 N. Center St.
The presentation is only open to those 18 and older.
"Our hope is that by informing the community - informing parents - we can stop it from being a huge problem," Lewis said.
If you go ...
WHAT: Discussion on synthetic drug use. Open to parents, and those over the age of 18.
WHERE: Marshalltown City Council Chambers, 24 N. Center St.
WHEN: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Topics addressed during Kalin's talk will include details on drug abuse patterns, symptoms of synthetic drug use, toxicity of the drugs and treatment.
She will discuss not only the pharmacology of the drugs, but also why they pose a challenge for law enforcement, health care providers and educators.
Lewis said synthetic drug use in youth and people in their early 20s is trending upward, but the problem is far from an epidemic as many claim.
Matt Tullis, equity director at the Marshalltown School District, said some parents have approached school officials with questions and are concerned about, what they perceive to be, a growing problem with local youth.
"Like anything, kids will find a way to smoke it or take it or whatever," he said. "We certainly don't want to have a tragic event ... we just want to arm parents with information."