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Host: Scott LaMar

Synthetic Marijuana / Nuclear Anxiety in 2017

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Jul 28, 2017 4:00 PM


On the Monday, July 31st edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

Earlier this month, Lancaster emergency medical services responded to 65 drug overdoses during a three-day period.  None of the overdoses were fatal, most occurred in Lancaster city.  Officials blamed it on a bad batch of synthetic marijuana.

Synthetic cannabis, or "spice," uses chemicals to artificially mimic the composition of real marijuana but manufacturers typically use dangerous cleaners and consumer products found at stores.  Nobody really knows how batches are made and users don't know what they're ingesting.

Spice can is often sold in retail stores, usually under the counter.  It's cheap, easy to find and frequently marketed to youths.  Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said in a statement, "While we are in the midst of a still-escalating opioid abuse epidemic, we must not forget the many other poisons being dealt and used in our communities."

On the Monday edition of Smart Talk, we'll discuss the dangers of synthetic marijuana and methods used to catch manufacturers and distributors.  DA Stedman will join Special Agent Patrick Trainor of the DEA's Philadelphia Field Division to talk about synthetic marijuana in the region.

Also, the Cold War ended 26 years ago and the threat of nuclear annihilation at the hands of the Soviet Empire faded away.  In 2017, the world is confronting a very different type of nuclear power in North Korea.  As tensions mount on the Korean Peninsula, people are once again confronting an antagonistic nuclear threat.

Smart Talk discusses renewed feelings of nuclear anxiety and how those fears have contributed to culture from the dawn of the nuclear age to present day with Dan Zak, a feature writer with The Washington Post and author of Almighty, an "examination of America's love-hate relationship with nuclear weapons."


on synthetic marijuana:

- People don't understand this drug. They don't understand the long term psychosis-years after use-caused by the substance. Kids are at special risk for use because they aren't aware that it is lab created. And have received mixed messages about marijuana legalization in PA. The media has controlled the narrative and when access is increased to a substance, use rises. Kids refer to this substance as 'legal' in Lancaster city.           - Bevan

- Has the DEA considered that in their race to ban synthetic drugs, they drive a market for increasingly experimental and dangerous new synthetics?

And considering that true marijuana presents zero perceivable risk of overdose, the term "synthetic marijuana" appears to be at best a misnomer, and at worst, a deliberate stigmatization of a substance whose prohibition has certainly done damage to the fabric of our society.            - Andrew

on nuclear anxiety:

- I grew up with the shadow of nuclear war/cold war because I was born in the 70's. One of my first memories is a no more nuke's rally I attended in DC.

I think people younger than me don't think about nuclear war or nuclear weapons much at all. I am very concerned that the world has so many unstable world leaders with their fingers on the nuclear button.

I got a red balloon tattoo to help raise awareness of the issue; in remembrance of the 99 red balloon song where nuclear war is started by red balloons due to unstable war mongering world leaders.

I think people did not consider nuclear war when voting this presidential election; I think that the one thing people can do about nuclear war is to elect a leader that makes well thought out decisions to prevent accidental nuclear war or being pushed into a nuclear war corner.                   - anon

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