The Shenandoah Reports
Rising Problem: Snow before Christmas
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — Abbie thought she was experimenting with a harmless recreational drug. She couldn’t have been more wrong.
For about a month, Abbie, who wants to remain anonymous, snorted a new synthetic drug called “crimson snow.”
“I was not sleeping and not eating. It makes you start seeing stuff that’s not there. Weird, but it’s scary,” Abbie said.
Crimson Snow comes in small packages that contain a fraction of a gram. They have a variety of product names such as Blood Wave and Red Sky. Regardless of what they’re called, this synthetic drug is powerful and potentially deadly. The Hook discovered they combine other street drugs’ worst effects.
“This may well be the most dangerous drug experience of a lifetime,” said Dr. Richard Geller from the Richmond Poison Control.
Richmond Poison Control has confirmed that six young Virginians including one in the Bay Area have been hospitalized with overdoses of so-called crimson snow drugs.
“They seem to have the ability to produce hallucinations the way LSD did. They seem to highly addicting in the manner of crack cocaine,” Geller said. “They seem to produce violent behavior like PCP and methamphetamine. They seem to last for an exceptionally long period of time.”
The Hook has learned users have committed suicide, mutilated themselves, others have permanent psychotic breaks. The Hook also found out just how easy it was to obtain the drug.
In Virginia these products are openly marketed in smoke shops and head shops, and in Charlottesville, a place not usually known for its drug scene, it is rampant in lower income areas.
Several Northern Virginia smoke shops told The Hook they believed Crimson Snow had not yet become as popular there because they could not be purchased in smoke shops.
“I’ve had maybe three customers come in asking for it. We don’t sell it here,” said Jim Siegel of Distractions Head Shop.
But Siegel said lots of marketers were trying to sell Crimson Snow to him.
“The marketers are always one step ahead of the government,” Siegel said. “They’re just changing molecules. One molecule different than what the illegal substance is.”
“Do you really want to lose your mental health forever? And that apparently is one of the real risks of this Crimson Snow,” Geller said.
Hearing voices and being paranoid, Abbie said she thought of suicide.
“Doesn’t matter if it’s legal. You’ll end up killing yourself with it,” she said.
It may not be legal for long. The Hook has learned Richmond’s Poison Control Director asked the state for an emergency ban on this drug. Currently, the Department of Justice and the Department of Public Health were evaluating their authority to act.