There is a growing concern with law enforcement and health officials about the use of electronic cigarettes to smoke illegal drugs. Due to the lack of smoke and odor that emits from a vape pen, it’s almost impossible to tell what substance is being vaped.
Vaping Illegal Drugs
E-cigarettes, also referred to as vape pens, have been around for over ten years. They were introduced as a safer alternative to cigarettes by placing a nicotine-infused liquid in the device. For people who were trying to quit smoking, E-cigarettes became an easy, comfortable way to cut down on tobacco cigarettes.
Recently, electronic cigarettes have become a way for drug users to get high without being noticed by law enforcement. Drug users have discovered that e-cigarettes work well for a variety of dangerous drugs including:
- Bath salts
- Liquid THC
- Hash oil
- Synthetic marijuana (K2 or Spice)
Water-soluble synthetics can be changed into liquid concentrates that can go into vaping devices, so they can be vaped just like legal substances like nicotine. When vaping, it’s impossible to detect what type of liquid is in the device. It could be liquid THC, liquid heroin or crack cocaine, or a cocktail mix of deadly synthetic opioid drugs. Recently in Florida, a man was arrested for vaping flakka, a cheap, deadly synthetic drug, also known as “$5 insanity,” that’s sold on the streets.
Vaping has become popular with teens and young adults, not as a way to stop smoking cigarettes, but more as a status symbol or fashion statement. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), electronic cigarette use tripled among middle school and high school students in 2014. The possibility of vaping illegal drugs without detection has raised concerns for many parents and teachers, as well as law enforcement. Health studies show that there are significant health risks associated with inhaling a drug that has been turned into a vapor. Drugs that are inhaled or smoked enter the lungs and are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through tiny vessels that line the air sacs. Using e-cigarettes filled with dangerous illegal drugs is an extremely risky way to get high.