Family warns of danger from legal alternative drug

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An Ithaca family claims an alternative drug sold legally at the Ithaca Commons is in fact very dangerous, and should be banned.

18-year-old Ryan Barta tells CNYcentral's Jim Kenyon that after smoking a product called endonesia, he became violently ill and suffered internal bleeding from an ulcer that required 12 units of blood last week.

Endonesia is marketed as a "spice" by the Ithaca Hemp Company. Barta says it is "highly addictive" and produces an effect far stronger than marijuana. Barta's mother, Sheri VanDeusen, says parents should be aware that endonesia is very dangerous, and she's calling upon government leaders to investigate and potentially ban the substance.

The Ithaca Hemp Company issued a statement saying endonesia is a "perfectly legal type of product, sold by hundreds of retail stores in New York... there is no evidence that there are any health concerns associated with this product. This is a great product. We have had hundreds of not thousands of customers buy this product over the years and have never had a complaint whatsoever."

When asked about legal drugs which are being sold as an alternative to illegal hallucinogens, Senator Charles Schumer yesterday called for a nationwide ban on a product called salvia, and an investigation into other drugs as well. "There's big money in selling drugs to kids." Schumer told reporters at a news conference Monday.

The Poison Center at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse reports there have been 6 cases of salvia drug abuse which required medical treatment since the beginning of 2010. That number reflects only the number of cases called into the center and the actual number of abuse cases is "significantly higher."