NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A dangerous new trend in drug use may have serious consequence not just for the user, but for neighbors of nearby homes.
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, the extremely potent derivative of marijuana, known as honey oil or hash oil, is obtained from the leaves of the plant by cooking it down using highly flammable compounds to obtain the resin. What’s extracted is said to produce an extreme high in users.
Butane, which is used to then smoke the oil, can be purchased at hardware stores and is most commonly used in the heating process. It doesn’t take a lot—just a single canister of butane produces quite a lot of gas, Gainer reported.
Major Christopher Eckert works with the New Jersey State Fire Marshal’s Office and is concerned because more and more frequently, the drug use is causing explosions that rock the surrounding area.
“The explosion can blow out walls of a structure, blow out the windows and of course, burn the occupants of the building very severely,” he said.
Butane can be easily ignited from a pilot light to something as innocent as static electricity.
In Colorado, where marijuana is legal, there have been more than a dozen fires and explosions from hash oil and butane use since the beginning of the year.
“I heard this loud explosion that shook my house and it almost felt like a gas line exploded,” Colorado resident Fay Berryman said.
Videos of the drug use going wrong can be found all over the internet, but the trend still shows no sign of abating, especially with the promise of such a potent high. Explosions like the ones described have even been reported on the East Coast, Gainer reported.
“Many times, the people that do this are impaired by the drugs themselves. They’re typically users of the drug so they’re not taking normal safety procedures that a clear-thinking person would take,” Eckert said.
Eckert adds that it is something that can potentially put anyone in jeopardy.
“You don’t know what your neighbor is doing. You don’t know what’s going on until the walls come tumbling down basically,” he said.
Often, it’s multiple teams of responders that are needed at these types of explosions, ranging from firefighters to EMS to drug enforcement agencies and even bomb squads, Gainer reported.
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