JJC Nursing Students to Educate High School Leaders About Designer Drugs

Four Joliet Junior College Alpha Delta Nu (ADN) students will present their findings on K2/spice and bath salts to deans and counselors at Lincoln-Way West High School on Oct. 25. ADN president Mary Pierson and members Nanette Scott, Stephanie Lindsay, and Melissa Channell will encourage Lincoln-Way school leaders to educate their students about the unknown dangers of these designer drugs.

The four ADN students who will be presenting to Lincoln-Way West include Mary Pierson (front row, far right), Stephanie Lindsay (front row, second from right), Nanette Scott (back row, middle), and Melissa Channell (back row, second from right).

This presentation began as a research project the four nursing students worked on in their third semester last spring. Pierson said she and her group were amazed at how much inaccurate information they found on the Internet, and how these drugs are often marketed online as a “legal high.”

“The information on the Internet is ridiculous,” Pierson said. “Kids are very misinformed and often feel invincible. It only takes one time for something to happen. For instance, we learned of a high school girl that smoked synthetic marijuana for the first time and suffered a series of strokes, and now she is no longer able to function like you and me. These were the alarming stories we were coming across.”

ADN members created a survey to find out what JJC students knew about K2/spice and bath salts and compared it to what was accurate. They learned that K2/spice and bath salt usage is more widespread and commonly used than they originally thought.

Pierson is glad she got to work on the project, and thinks this information will help her with her future career.

“The information we learned is invaluable because we’ll always have the knowledge as far as signs and symptoms to look for, erratic behaviors, things that we might be able to bring to the light for other staff members at a hospital,” Pierson said.

Common symptoms of K2/spice and bath salt use include hallucinations, agitation, increased heart rate, anxiety, vomiting, and more.

While Pierson and her group have already presented this information to other JJC students and the nearby Hines VA Hospital, they felt the knowledge they gained would also benefit high school students, and were very excited for the opportunity to present at Lincoln-Way West later this month.

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