Jan 28, 2011 10:59 PM by Jeannette Hynes
Five U.S. Air Force Academy Cadets have been kicked out of the Academy for using the herbal drug called "spice."
Twenty-five other cadets are under investigation, also accused of using spice.
Spice, also called K2, black diamond, or fake pot is legal, but it violates a general order issued last April at the Academy, banning the use and abuse of any chemicals or over-the-counter medications.
Lieutenant General Mike Gould released a statement about the zero-tolerance policy: "The abuse of these products by military members, cadets and cadet candidates contradicts the nature of the profession of arms, threatens our military readiness and impairs our responsibilities to the Air Force and our Nation."
The packages, sold in one or three-ounce containers say "not for human consumption," but people smoke it to get a high similar to marijuana, sometimes ten to 100 times more potent. It costs anywhere from ten to 45 dollars an ounce. And if teens aren't using it, they've heard about it.
"I don't know what it does. I just know that it's something you really don't want to get into," says Kaylene Ross, a sophomore at Palmer High School. Ross adds teachers have been warning her about spice in health class.
"Fake weed. I've just heard about it from the grapevine, you know. I've heard about it from everybody out," says Michael Reese.
Nationally, emergency rooms have treated many people who had bad reactions to this fake pot. Colorado Springs hospitals tell News First 5, they have not treated anyone with a bad reaction, but spice is on the radar for doctors and other agencies.
"It really is something unpredictable since we don't really know what's in it," explains Jennifer West, Executive Director for El Paso & Teller Counties Alliance for Drug Endangered Children.
Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued an emergency ban for five of the chemicals used to make the fake pot. Suppliers quickly made new products with different chemicals, keeping the product legal.