Tampa, Florida -- A synthetic drug, mimicking the effects of cocaine is making the rounds with teens, not only in our area, but across the country. And there can be dangerous consequences.
Missy Peterson of Largo knows the pain of drug abuse. Her daughter, who we're choosing not to name since she's a minor, was addicted to synthetic drugs for years.
"I never thought I'd have a teenager who started using drugs. It's very real, I never thought I'd be walking this path. " says Peterson, shaking her head.
Peterson daughter has never taken Cloud 9. But this drug is equally as scary. If can be found behind the counter in convenience stores and smoke shops, and teens call it the new bath salts.
LEARN MORE:NOPE's main website
"It has a strong chemical called MDPD which is 10 times more powerful than cocaine or meth" says Peterson.
Cloud 9 is a synthetic drug, that mimics the effects of cocaine and meth. The drops are marketed to be used in a bathtub, and the vapors inhaled. But teenagers are ingesting the drops straight on candy or gum, or mixed into energy drinks. Cloud 9, also known as Ivory Wave and a host of other names, is so potent, six teens were recently hospitalized after taking it in Detroit.
Peterson speaks at middle and high schools around the area with NOPE — the Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education group. She says while parents have no idea about the drug most all young people do.
"They're at gas stations, they're at the head shop down the street. You're kids can get it and everybody in the audience raises their hands, and they're middle school and high school."
Her message to parents ?
"Get on Google and YouTube and do research on the different drugs out there, especially the synthetic drugs."
You can get more information on Cloud 9 and find resources on where to get help for addiction at NOPE's website: www.nopetaskforce.com