Times Square Driver Reportedly High on Synthetic Marijuana

Synthetic marijuana plays role in Times Square Driver’s Actions

Most people have heard the news about the Times Square driver Richard Rojas, who plowed his vehicle through a Seventh Avenue sidewalk for three blocks. Rojas’ rampage left one teenager, Alyssa Elsman, dead and 22 people injured, with four who are in critical condition. After his capture and detainment in Riker’s Island, Rojas claimed that he knew he was crazy but he did not know why. While still high on the drugs, Rojas claimed, “I wanted to kill them.” Later on, he revealed to investigators that he was high on synthetic marijuana and PCP, but he has no memory of the killing spree. This story reveals the sad truth about the dangers of designer drugs like synthetic marijuana.

Spice is a designer drug that was marketed as being like natural marijuana, but then disturbing effects of the drug, like death, occurred and some people became wary of the drug. Other individuals either do not realize the dangers of synthetic marijuana, or are willing to take a chance on it just to experience the high. Synthetic marijuana is known on the street as: K2, Bliss, Fake Weed, Spice and Skunk, and is packaged with labels that read: “Not for human consumption”. The drug is made to look like potpourri, incense, food seasoning, and tobacco. This type of marketing deters any problems with law enforcement about selling illicit drugs.

What is K2? It is a synthetic mix of natural compounds and man-made chemicals that can cause dangerous mind-altering effects, such as the kind Richard Rojas experienced. Some of the chemicals used in K2 are sometimes sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids that are one hundred times stronger than their natural counterparts. These synthetic marijuana strains attach to the opioid receptors in the brain and body, just like the natural ones do, and have the same effects as THC. K2, in all its varieties, is often manufactured overseas in illicit laboratories that have no safety oversight and offer a host of dangerous health risks to the user. Samples of the drug that were confiscated by U.S. law enforcement were studied and found to contain a treacherous mix of chemicals.

To avoid legal problems, the makers of K2 are continuously altering ingredients. If someone wants to know “what is K2?” it is difficult to say, other than that it is a mix of toxic chemicals and natural materials, and you are taking a huge risk if you use the drug. It is also difficult to determine exactly what Spice drug side effects will be, because it is dependent on the materials it contains. From previous experiences of Spice users, we can determine some of the Spice drug side effects as:

  • Hallucinations, altered perception, severe anxiety, panic attacks
  • Aggression, agitation, paranoia, addiction, temporary memory loss
  • Vomiting, uncontrolled body movements, sweating, weight loss
  • Heart attacks, heart damage, increased heart rate, hypertension
  • Kidney failure, renal damage, myocardial ischemia, seizures, death

Withdrawal from synthetic marijuana is a very difficult process for the person addicted to the drug. The addict will feel that they will die without taking the drug and this often leads to a relapse. K2 is considered one of the most difficult drugs to withdraw from, and the addict will need the help of K2 addiction specialists to achieve a successful withdrawal from the drug. A medically supervised detox at a drug rehab center is the ideal place to have a K2 withdrawal procedure done. The patient will be kept stable throughout the procedure and will have assistance from the medical team to address withdrawal symptoms or other complications. Some synthetic marijuana withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Loss of appetite, insomnia, extreme sweating
  • Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, extreme dehydration, abdominal cramping
  • Depression, suicidal ideation, a lack of motivation and concentration, psychosis
  • Kidney damage or failure

Spice side-effects can have a life-threatening outcome and are not worth the risk of taking the drug to get high. If you are addicted to Spice and need professional help to get off of the drug, you should contact a drug treatment center today. The medical team at White Sands will help you overcome your addiction and teach you how to continue in your sobriety.




  1. https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-is-synthetic-marijuana-and-why-is-it-dangerous


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.