CrimeTracker 10: Old Drugs Pose A New Danger To Central Ohio Teens

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UPDATED: Tuesday July 15, 2014 9:11 AM

There's a new "normal" in central Ohio when it comes to illegal drugs.  Teenagers tell CrimeTracker 10's Angela An how drugs of the past are giving kids today a new high.

"I have heard of DMT," says Ross Perkins, an 18-year-old Dublin high school graduate who is heading off to college this fall.   "You smoke it, right.  Once you do that, you get a really intense psychotic experience, that's all I know.  I don't know a lot about it."

DMT is a tryptamine or hallucinogenic substance called Dimethyltryptamine, according to retired Sgt. Mike Powell, who now works for the drug awareness program Street Smarts at the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

"A number of those schools where the kids were asking me about things like DMT and DIPT - which really kind of surprised me because I'm familiar with the drugs, but we hadn't heard a lot about them in the past 5-6-7 years," says Powell.

DIPT is another popular hallucinogen called diisopropyltryptamine.  Sgt. Powell says both drugs are similar to LSD of days gone by.

Ryan Javery of New Albany has heard a lot about DMT.   He and Perkins play together in a local band called "Cat Turtle," where they say these drugs are popping up more at local club scenes.  "I know tons of kids who are into DMT," says 18-year-old Javery. "It's weird, that's like the new normal. Everyone I know has heard of someone {overdosing} or going to rehab."

And there's another drug of choice starting to percolate more too - 'shrooms - or Psilocybin mushrooms which contain a natural psychedelic compound.

"They've told us they order pizza with mushrooms, cut these up and put these on top of pizza," explains Sgt. Powell.   "Heat acts as a catalyst; they mix it into the pizza, and then eat it."

Powell says many of these drugs have been synthetically tweaked and given new, trendy names to make them more appealing to teens.   "You probably have at least 100 different names for the same product."

"It's the dream chemical," Javery says, talking about why his peers tell him they experiment with DMT.   "It's this mythical spiritual experience to do DMT."

Dr. Marcel Casavant with Nationwide Children's Hospital's Poison Control Center says not knowing which specific chemicals make up each drug make it more difficult for them to treat.

"Many of these children need to be in the ICU, sometimes on vent or breathing machines for a number of days."

"Sometimes, it takes a number of different drugs to control the agitation, to stop the seizure, to treat their blood pressure or heart rate. It can be very sick to children,” Casavant explains.

Cat Turtle bandmate Adam Knowles of Bexley says the uniqueness of these drugs is part of the lure for teens his age.  "Our generation equates it to the generation of the late 60s, early 70s - the hippie movement - so with that you're going to see a rise of LSD and hallucinogen drugs."

All the teens 10TV spoke with say while the drug culture is easy to get into, it's also easy to avoid.

"So the way to avoid it when you go off to college; keep yourself as busy as possible because when you do that, you don't have time to screw up," says Knowles.

At Maryhaven in Columbus, Director Paul Coleman tells Angela An if parents suspect their teen is getting addicted to drugs or alcohol to act quickly and get your child help before it's too late.

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