WESLACO - A young recovering drug addict hopes her experiences will dissuade others from venturing into the world of synthetic marijuana.
The teenager, who opted to remain anonymous, said K2 and Spice were her drugs of choice.
"You can forget about everything and not have to worry about much," she said.
She said the drugs offered an escape for her, a high like nothing she had ever felt before.
The girl said she smoked synthetic marijuana often - sometimes every 30 minutes.
"Her behavior was getting out of control, and it seemed she was high all the time," her mother said.
The teen eventually admitted to her mother that she was addicted to the drug, and they sought help at the Palmer Drug Abuse Program.
The road to recovery has been difficult, they said.
"I'm starting to understand the behavior behind an addict," the mother said.
"First I was very hurt, and then I was angry," the mother said. "You have people who say, ‘where were you as a parent.'"
The teen said she went from regular marijuana to the synthetic drug.
"I was smoking every single day," she said.
She would change her habits once her parents started catching on.
"One hit or two hits and you were tripping," she said. "You couldn't smell it. I thought, ‘this is super easy, I can do it when I want.'"
She said part of the allure of synthetic marijuana is that it's easy to hide.
"Nowadays it seems like a lot of people are doing it," she said.
The Drug Enforcement Administration said the drug is very addictive and dangerous. Will Glaspy, with the DEA, said K2 and Spice have become a serious problem in America.
"There have been deaths across the country linked to the use of K2 and Spice," Glaspy said.
The DEA on July raided smoke shops throughout the Rio Grande Valley. They confiscated more than 52,000 packets of synthetic marijuana and arrested five people.
"What we did here in the Valley was a small piece to a bigger picture," Glaspy said.
"One of the things we saw in the Rio Grande Valley is a lot of these smoke shops opening up," Glaspy said. "We saw an increase of reports of kids going to the hospital because they were smoking this stuff. We knew something had to be done."
"Some of my friends that I used to hang out with, they got pretty bad," the teenager said. "I remember one of my friends, she did it and got a bad reaction. She thought she would pass out in the middle of school."
The girl said she never had problems getting the drug.
"You just tell them. They have the packs there. You tell them what you want, a gram or three grams," she said.
The price also is much lower then traditional marijuana, the girl said.
"Usually about $6," she said.
"When I first saw the packages some of them looked like candy," said the girl's mother. "I found some under her pillow, and it didn't smell bad. I had heard of it, but I had never seen it."
The mother said parents need learn about the dangers of the drug and its availability.
Dr. Ron McMurray, with the Edinburg Regional Medical Center, said the synthetic drug is 10 times more potent than regular marijuana. He said it can be 100 times more dangerous.
"A lot of people will resort to these synthetic chemicals as a way to still get high and not have the ramifications, I guess, as far as drug testing is concerned," said Palmer Drug Abuse Program Director Derek French.