Gateway Foundation Can Help Those Battling K2 Addiction

Dec 09, 2010, 12:41 ET from Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment

CHICAGO, Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment is a leading provider of substance abuse treatment in Illinois, including services to treat those with addictions to herbal blend drugs such as the recently banned K2.

K2, also known by such other names as "Blaze," "Spice" and "Red X Dawn," is a mixture of herbal blends coated with synthetic chemicals, which is then smoked. K2 was a popular legal alternative to marijuana among teenagers and college students until being banned by the Drug Enforcement Agency on November 30. It had been sold legally as packets of incense or potpourri at convenience stores, online and at smoke and herbal shops. Despite the new ban, K2 remains a popular and dangerous drug.

"K2 is essentially a synthetic form of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary active ingredient in marijuana," said Phil Welches, Ph.D., Gateway Foundation Clinical Director. "At the bare minimum, it can pose risks similar to marijuana use. However, varying potency levels and applications of K2 during the manufacturing process, including the combination with other substances, contributes to an added unpredictability of its immediate effects when used. Thus, it can have far worse effects than marijuana."

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment professionals provide teen substance abuse treatment to a growing population of those with problems related to marijuana and substances like K2. "Users have experienced physical, as well as psychological emergencies.  These consequences, combined with unknown long term effects, make K2 especially dangerous," Dr. Welches said.

This rise in K2 abuse nationwide, and the medical problems associated with it, led the DEA to use its emergency powers to ban all synthetic marijuana and the ingredients used to make it for one year.

"Just because it is illegal does not mean it will go away, and the results can be devastating," Dr. Welches said. "K2 can affect an individual's heart, brain and respiratory system. It may cause hallucinations or paranoia. Symptoms also often include rapid breathing, restlessness and erratic behavior. If you notice any of those signs and symptoms in someone you know, seek immediate help."

For more than 40 years, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment has been at the forefront of providing substance abuse treatment services.  Gateway provides the answers individuals need for alcohol and drug treatment recovery and is the recognized leader in the use of evidence-based practices and innovative treatment models that are clinically proven to work. There are nine Gateway alcohol and drug treatment centers in Illinois that provide outpatient and residential services.  Substance abuse treatment is accessible through health insurance benefits and self pay.

Gateway works hand-in-hand with healthcare providers, insurance companies, local communities, schools, businesses and government agencies to respond to the ever-changing needs of people seeking drug treatment for substances like K2.  It employs a staff of experts, including physicians, psychologists, nurses and certified substance abuse treatment counselors who use evidence-based treatment plans tailored specifically to each patient.

Gateway Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by The Joint Commission, the leading accrediting organization for hospitals and other healthcare organizations. Gateway accepts health insurance benefits and self-pay.

For more information call 877-321-RECOVER or visit

SOURCE Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment