Police Chief Cook reports that youths smoke the product to get high
By Lauren Brown
The City of Hines is concerned about youths using a legally sold incense to get high.
At the April 27 meeting, Burns-Hines Police Chief Randy Cook told the Hines Common Council that he had done some research on the brand K2 Incense after councilor John Mims asked him to do so.
K2 Incense is sold legally in stores and smoke shops across the United States. However, instead of burning the incense for the aroma, people have been smoking it, as it is reported to provide a similar high to that of marijuana. In fact, many Web sites refer to the product as a synthetic marijuana.
A story from CNN, which was published in March noted that the substance is manufactured in Asia. The story goes on to say that the K2 product is sold in various flavors in 3-gram bags and that “the product consists of herbs that are sprayed with synthetic substances that mimic THC, the high-causing natural chemical found in marijuana.”
Because of the unregulated nature of the synthetic product, the CNN story suggests that “there’s a potential for users to inhale contaminants along with the substance they think they’re smoking … which may be a contributing factor in the adverse symptoms some of its users have been experiencing.” Some symptoms users complain of include symptoms as heart palpitations and respiratory issues.
A safety disclaimer on the K2 Web site states: “Incense products are designed to be used externally only. Do not make ‘teas’ (or) special ‘beverages’ as they don’t taste as good as they smell. Never ‘directly inhale’ any incense product.”
Chief Cook said that to prevent youths from buying the product, some cities have banned the product and this is something the cities of Burns and Hines could do.
Councilor Crimson Presley said she has heard of some kids having nasty reactions to smoking the incense. “There have been a number of hospitalizations over it,” she said.
The council agreed that the issue needed to be looked into further. “I think it’s serious enough that we need to coordinate between Burns and Hines, the county and the tribe, too,” Mayor Ruth Schultz said.
Chief Cook said he would talk to the Burns City Council as well and research how other cities have gone about the process of banning the product.
In other business:
• the council voted in favor of purchasing a $500 sign through the Harney County Opportunity Team. The sign, which will say simply “Hines,” will appear on the front of the chamber of commerce building in downtown Burns.
While some council members thought $500 was too much to pay for a sign, Mayor Schultz said the other rural communities have already purchased their signs, and it would seem odd if Hines was the only city missing;
• Fire Chief Bob Spence encouraged residents to “Vote for Barney” in the E-One contest for which the Hines Volunteer Fire Department has been chosen as a finalist to receive a new fire truck. However, in order to get the truck, they need to garner the most votes through the Web site www.E-ONE.com. Anyone with an e-mail address can vote;
• County Judge Steve Grasty was present to update the council on local air quality. He said the Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency have been on the verge of labeling the county with a “non-attainment” status, meaning that there is too much particulate in the air, primarily caused by old woodstoves. However, this winter the county didn’t encounter any air quality issues.
Grasty said that has put the county on the right track, but both cities still need to encourage residents to use efficient woodstoves to avoid a bad air quality label. The county is looking into grants that could help homeowners purchase more efficient woodstoves to heat their homes. “It’s a real compliment to this city and Burns that we dodged this bullet,” Grasty said;
• the council approved business licenses for The Dog House, a hot dog stand owned by Robert Landgrave, McMurray and Sons Roofing and Avant Garde Carpet Care; The Dog House is in the space previously occupied by Treat Yourself Espresso and will open for business on May 17;
• the council approved a $100 donation to the Kiwanis Club of Burns-Hines fireworks display and a $50 donation to the Country Lane Quilts Quilt Show;
• the council approved a resolution to borrow about $34,000 from the city’s generator fund to pay for the pump replacement on Jones Avenue;
• City Administrator Pam Mather read the budget message. The proposed budget is $2,061,016, which is $253,162 less than this year’s budget. Mather wrote that this is because the city has not applied for as many grants and did not receive as much money from the county;
• Chief Cook told the council that May 9-15 is National Police Week. Mayor Schultz said the council would honor the officers at the next council meeting on May 11.
The next Hines Common Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. May 11.