There seems to be conflict brewing in Macomb County, Mich. over a designer drug known as “Cloud 9”.
On the one side are teens indulging in the substance, which is reported to be perfectly legal. On the other are Michigan authority figures who claim that designer drug is dangerous, if not lethal.
"It has the same [effects] as cocaine, meth and ecstasy," said Fraser Public Safety Director George Rouhib.
Rouhib added that a person who abuses Cloud 9, also known as "Hookah Relax", “can basically have a heart attack".
That is a very scary claim, but where is the evidence?
Michigan officials point to the six high school students who have been hospitalized after ingesting the designer drug. A total of 20 hospital visits are said to have resulted from taking Cloud 9.
Concerned Michigan authorities moved to issue emergency orders meant to reinforce the 2012 ban on synthetic drugs.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Macomb County Health Officer Bill Ridella and McLaren Macomb Chairman of Emergency Medicine James Larkin also intend to hold a press conference on Wednesday to issue a health order against the Cloud 9 drug.
The challenge now will be to convince the public that a substance that hasn’t killed anyone yet is dangerous.
How does Cloud 9 stand up against these proven health threats?
Westland Deputy Police Chief Todd Adams said that the designer drug “causes crazy hallucinations and violent outbursts”.
Law enforcement officials in Michigan say they will work hard to pressure vendors to remove the drug from their stores or the ingredients needed to make it.
— The Oakland Press (@TheOaklandPress) September 26, 2014
One interesting tidbit is that one of the primary methods of ingesting Cloud 9 is the use of e-cigarettes.
This seemingly unrelated drug campaign may draw even more negative attention to the product.
Do you think "Cloud 9" is as deadly as law enforcement officials say or is this entire matter the result of an overreaction?