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4 Health & Just. 1 (2016)

handle is hein.journals/hlthjs4 and id is 1 raw text is: Richardson et al. Health and Justice (2016) 4:1
DOI 10.1186/s40352-016-0032-z

0 Health & Justice

R     A   *   A           - m~cs

On papers: perceptions of synthetic
cannabinoid use among black males under
criminal justice supervision
Joseph B. Richardson', Christopher St. Vil4*, Eric Wish2 and Carnell Cooper3

This was never intended to be used in people... It even
says on the label, Not for human consumption.' Ironic-
ally, that's the only accurate thing on the label. This is
not marijuana. It should not be thought of like
marijuana. We have to get this out there: Its effects are
serious. It's a totally different drug. (Walton 2014)
Reports on the use of synthetic cannabinoid (SC) use
among adolescents and young adults in the U.S. differ
and present a conflicting picture depending on the
source of the report. According to the Monitoring the
Future Survey (MTF), in 2012 SC ranked second to
marijuana among illicit drugs used in the past year by
high school seniors with 11.4 % reporting use. In the 2
years since the survey has been tracking SC use, 5.8 % of
12th graders reported its use in 2014, compared with
7.9 % in 2013 representing a cumulative 5 % decrease.
This decrease was associated with an increase in the per-
ceived risk of taking SC once or twice among 12th
graders even though the level of the perceived risk was
* Correspondence: cstvil@buffalo.edu
4School of Social Work, University at Buffalo, 685 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY
14260, USA
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article

4 Springer

reported as low (Johnston et al. 2014). Despite this decline
in SC usage reported by the MTF, there has been an alarm-
ing rise among both teens and young adults presenting to
emergency departments (ED) for reasons involving SC
fueling public health concerns (Harris and Brown 2013).
The American Association of Poison Control Centers
(2012) reported that the number of toxic reactions to SC
has increased drastically. In 2010, Poison Control
Centers (PCC) received approximately 2900 calls report-
ing adverse effects from SC. By 2011, PCCs reported
7000 calls. According to data available from the Drug
Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) an estimated 11,406
U.S. emergency department (ED) visits in 2010 involved
a SC product, and three-fourths of these visits were
made by patients 12-29 years of age. In the majority
(59 %) of ED visits made by patients' ages 12-29 that in-
volved SC, no other substances were involved. SC were
used in combination with one other substance (i.e.,
marijuana, pharmaceuticals, and alcohol) in 36 % of the
visits. By 2011, there were an estimated 28, 531 ED visits
involving a SC product (57 % were SC alone), more than
double the rate reported the previous year. Furthermore,
despite the classification of SC in schedule I under the
Controlled Substance Act, SC products continue to
evolve due to modified chemical structures and continue

© 2016 Richardson et al. Open Access This artide is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license. and indicate if chances were made.


Background: A number of studies reveal a strong linkage between SC use and avoiding positiveurine creens.
Despite this work and given the high rates of criminal justice supervision among Black men in the U.S., little is
known about SC usage among Black men under criminal justice supervision.
Methods: In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 11 Black men under criminal justicesupervision
treated by an urban ED for violent injury.
Results: Themes that emerged from the analysis include 1) prevalence of use, 2)health literacy, 3) availability and
costs, 4) negative side effects, and 5) criminal justice supervision.
Conclusions: Criminal justice supervision policies are a contributing factor to SC use among Black men under
criminal justice supervision.

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