Last night, a naked woman completely trashed a Subway restaurant while under the influence of “spice,” or synthetic marijuana. The law has no way of preventing future rampages like that from happening, but that’s okay.
Nikki Abrell, 35 years old, arrived at the restaurant in Anchorage, Alaska, at 5 p.m. yesterday and locked herself in the bathroom for two hours. When she emerged, she was completely naked and proceeded to wreck the restaurant.
The details of her drug-fueled rampage are pretty insane. According to eyewitness testimony, Abrell smashed tiles, broke furniture, and threw food. She also smeared feces “all over stuff” and set off a fire extinguisher before the police arrived. After a struggle, she was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal mischief, harassment, and resisting arrest.
Abrell’s wild night isn’t altogether uncommon among synthetic marijuana users. Recently, a woman left her 10-month-old child unattended in a stroller in front of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington DC while high on synthetic marijuana. She was found two blocks away, and told authorities that she thought she was still pushing the stroller. A New York man was recently filmed crouched on all fours in front of a van, completely naked and acting delusional while under the influence of the drug.
The stroller detail is telling of the drug’s effects, as it can turn users’ brains into something like a zombie’s. Despite its name, synthetic marijuana is more akin to PCP than marijuana, as it often gives users super-human strength, makes them immune to pain, and completely inhibits their judgement.
The drug’s use is on the rise. In 2014, Poison Control Centers received 3,682 calls relating to synthetic marijuana. From January to September of this year, Poison Control has received 6,310 calls.
Authorities have had a hard time cracking down on the drug, because as soon as they ban the active chemicals, drug manufactures alter the drug’s chemical composition, thus skirting the law. Essentially, lawmakers don’t have a way to prevent manufacturers or sellers from making the drug available, and they can’t prosecute users for having it on their person. Aside from creating useless bans that will only be immediately circumvented, the legal system can only prosecute someone for his or her actions while he or she was under the influence of the drug.
Synthetic marijuana isn’t the only thing that’s become difficult to regulate due to modern technology. Congress can’t figure out how to control the Internet, drones, or 3D printers because it’s very easy for these industries to quickly circumvent rule changes. For now, those who use synthetic marijuana or 3D printers for ill will be held accountable for their individual actions. In a small way, technology is limiting the government to holding us responsible for our actions instead of restricting what we can buy or make. The legal system can’t prevent or foresee the ways a citizen can cause harm using these devices or drugs. It can only hold us accountable for individual wrongdoing, and that’s kind of nice.