WEST TEXAS (KWES) - On Friday, a group of nurses from Lubbock, came to the Permian Basin to educate the community about the dangers of synthetic drugs.
They call themselves, Nurses Educating on Illegal Drugs and Synthetics, or NEIDS Outreach.
The difference between synthetic drugs and regular street drugs is synthetic drugs are man-made, also known as designer drugs.
The use of these designer drugs isn't just a problem in bigger cities, it's also happening in West Texas.
What's even causing a growing concern is users are buying the products over-the-counter and online.
The easy access to the drug is leading many people to be airlifted to Lubbock UMC Hospital.
"Because we are a level one trauma center. We have had several patients airlifted from Midland and Odessa area to UMC, based on synthetic drug use," said Charlie Williams, RN.
Synthetic marijuana is marketed as legal Marijuana and is often sold in colorful appealing packaging.
"The store owner told them, 'this is just legal pot, this doesn't even show up on a drug test. It can't hurt you because I am selling it at a store,'" said Williams.
But teens aren't the only ones doing the drug. Adults ranging from the ages 20 to 40 and oilfield workers are also users of the drug.
Midland Police Department said that in 2017 there were 13 arrests in regards to synthetic marijuana while the Odessa Police Department said they have weekly problems with synthetic drugs.
"We have had several disturbances, domestic disturbances involving subjects that were intoxicated on a substance other than alcohol. The investigation determined that they were high on synthetic substances," said Cpl. Steve LeSueur with the Odessa Police Department.
If you are looking for warning signs of someone being on synthetic drugs, look for paranoia, being anxious and even seizures.
"Seizures is a big one. If your child has never had a seizure before and they start developing a seizure disorder, it could be related to the synthetic drug use," said Williams.
If you are seeking help, you can contact several locations:
- Permian Basin Community Centers, Turning Point
2000 Maurice Rd, Odessa, TX, 79763
- Teen Challenge-Permian Basin
6901 S County Rd 1200, Midland, TX, 79706
- The Springboard Center
200 Corporate Dr, Midland, TX, 79705
- Palmer Drug Abuse Program
1208 W Wall St, Midland, TX, 79701