ODESSA - It's become a trend that is growing in popularity, the use of synthetic drugs. A mother whose son dabbled with the substances strongly urged the Odessa City Council to take steps to ban their use on Tuesday evening.
Synthetic drugs have become a popular alternative to marijuana. They're sprayed on dried herbs and sold in convenience stores or on the Internet labeled as 'Spice' or 'K2'.
"When you're considering the banning of this item, that you take deep consideration the affects that is having on these kids. It is killing them and if it doesn't kill them, I can tell you horror stories that we've heard," Tammy Smith, a parent of whose son used synthetic drugs, said. "We have dog in this fight who is close and dear to our heart who is in rehab right now."
Smith is talking about her son who went to Permian High School and started to dabble with the drugs at the age 15. He is now 17 years old and is getting help. She says many educators and parents aren't aware that their students may be using synthetic drugs.
"Because the high literally lasts 15 minutes, 10 to 15 minutes. These kids that go out that are tardy, between classes, they're going out to their cars and smoking it. On Permian, at OHS and Nimitz, all these other schools. The high last 10 minutes and you may not know," Smith said.
Smith hopes her testimony would help influence city council members to take the necessary steps on ban. Mayor David Turner says he's heard about the issue from local law enforcement and is in favor to do something about it.
"For the last four months, they've mentioned this is a target. Saying it's a problem at our schools and our youth are being affected by it. At this point, the City Council wants to look at it and review all of the options and listen to the police chief see what the best course of action would be," Turner said.
According to Smith, synthetic drugs can be purchased easily and if its not banned, the problem among those who use it, is it's going to get worse. Meanwhile, her son is making it through the hurdle.
"He's getting the help he needs. He's addressing what needs to be addressed. Like I said, he's a permanent athletic, a straight A student and parentally you ask yourself where did I go wrong. But it just creeps on you," Smith said.
The city attorney is the key person who will draft up the actual ordinance. Then it goes back to the City Council for two readings on it, 30 days after the second reading is when the ban could become the law of the land.