IL Cops Issue ‘Shatter’ Drug Use Warning

The new drug Shatter, a/k/a butane hash oil, a form of concentrated THC, prompts Illinois State Police to warn residents.
Nina Fenton
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Gone are the days of experimenting with marijuana through bong rips and joints, according to new reports coming from the Illinois State Police. Taking the place of the traditional drug is Shatter, which is also known as butane hash oil (BHO). Shatter is a newcomer on the drug scene and it has authorities on edge after more than 100 pounds of it was recently seized amid soaring usage.

What is Shatter?

Shatter is derived from marijuana, only far more dangerous and significantly less pleasant than having to endure a raging case of the munchies without any snacks on hand. Despite the flurry of negative side effects known to accompany its high, this new drug is quickly gaining momentum. Much of Shatter’s popularity is attributed to its potency and DIY appeal since it’s often made in home labs by inexperienced “wannabe chemists” and is said to pack a wallop of a punch with a high that can easily be “up to six times stronger than the average marijuana cigarette.”

DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group director, Mark Piccoli, has been tasked with fielding the majority of questions regarding Shatter and its bevy of side effects thanks to his extensive experience cracking down on the drug use in Chicago. He said, “It’s very strong compared to smoking marijuana or smoking a joint. You don’t see overdoses from marijuana. They’re extremely rare, it almost never happens, but I imagine there’s a higher potential for that to happen along with hallucinations and other types of psychosis.”

How Dangerous is it?

Medical marijuana user and Buzzfeed reporter, Amanda Lewis, has first hand knowledge and can attest to just how potent and potentially dangerous Shatter can be. She says, “It’s much stronger, it’s like the tequila of marijuana. You don’t know what’s in it. You don’t know how clean it is, it was probably made with lighter fluid that contains neurotoxic compounds that are now potentially in your brain.”

That doesn’t mean that all forms of marijuana concentrate of dangerous, but the risk is definitely going to increase if it’s purchased on the street since much of this Shatter is manufactured with a variety of chemicals and then trafficked for profit. Unless of course, the house it’s made in explodes like the 30 that ignited during production in Colorado in 2014.

“The problem is, while they’re breaking it down, it’s very volatile,” said the director of the Will County Cooperative Police Assistance Team in Joliet, Wayne Ladd. “They use butane. It explodes.”

The drug gets its name from the way it is bagged for distribution, according to police. The hybrid hash oil is spread out into a sheet that closely resembles amber colored glass and then “shattered” into pieces before it is sorted into individual baggies to be sold for $80 to $100 a gram. Shatter users typically prefer to heat the drug and inhale the smoke that is produced, however, some users report eating and/or injecting it.

There’s still a good bit of chatter circulating around the issue, especially by those supporting the legalization of BHO and of strict regulations being placed on the labs producing it. Many pro-BHO supporters suggest that its legalization will diminish risk and usage rates, but Piccoli wholeheartedly disagrees, saying “There still will be a black market, a strong and prosperous black market, as they’re seeing in Colorado, an a lot of that has to do with the price point. There’s tons of marijuana out there still, and people can buy it cheaper from a dealer they were buying it from before rather than going to the dispensary with taxes and rent. My opinion is it’s not going to go away.”

WRITTEN BY

Nina works hard to be a voice to the voiceless whose stories about drug testing, DNA testing and paternity deserve to be told. It is her goal to always come from a place free of judgment and full of compassion.

WRITTEN BY

Nina works hard to be a voice to the voiceless whose stories about drug testing, DNA testing and paternity deserve to be told. It is her goal to always come from a place free of judgment and full of compassion.

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