Incense used for more than smell
Community invited to get involved with local group to
prevent substance abuse

Wanda English Burnett

A disturbing trend has made its way to Ripley County. The newest and latest phase for those who want to feel “high” is to smoke various compounds that are intended to be used as incense or potpourri.

The latest “high” can be deadly. Those were the words of John Hegge, drug recognition expert (DRE) and officer with the Versailles Police Department.

Officer Hegge told those gathered at the Youth Worker Café meeting Tuesday, November 2 about the latest craze that is affecting mostly the teen population and those in their early twenties. The event, held at the Southeastern Career Center in Versailles, was co-sponsored by the Ripley County Local Coordinating Council Against Substance Abuse and the Indiana Youth Institute.

A round-table type discussion took place in conjunction with the officer’s presentation among various agencies that mostly work with youth, pastors of three local churches, teachers, and the media.

The dangerous substances are K-2 Standard Spice, which comes packaged in a pretty packet clearly stating it is not for human consumption. The officer also showed another packet of Pyara Premium Incense that is used in an inappropriate way along with Chill Spice, all producing serious side effects.

Just last month the officer told the group a 16-year-old from the Versailles area overdosed on some of the above products. Fortunately, she survived. Others have not been so lucky. He told of one intelligent, beautiful 17-year-old girl, who tried the new “legal” drug, and now has the mentality of a three-year-old.

“This is serious stuff,” he told those at the meeting. It is so serious, that Hegge and others will present an emergency ordinance banning the sale of these items from stores in the Versailles area at the Versailles Town Council meeting tonight, November 4.
The substances have emerged as a popular, legal alternative to marijuana and is widely being used by college students. It is easy to obtain because it is sold at the counter in many convenience stores or he explained if people want it in bulk, they go to the Internet.

Those using the new “drug” can experience symptoms of rapid heart rate, dangerously high blood pressure, hallucinations, paranoia, and even death. “Yes, it is physically addictive,” Hegge answered one question from the group.

Officer Hegge told about Methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV, which is legal to purchase and used as “legal” cocaine. He said this “drug” is a physoactive drug with stimulant properties which acts as a norepenephrine-dopamine re-uptake inhibitor (NDRI).

How prevalent is it in Ripley County? According to Hegge, “very”. This drug is also known as MTV, MDPR, Magic, Super Coke, White Lightning and Peevee.

Paula Goodpaster, coordinator for the Ripley County Local Coordinating Council Against Substance Abuse told those gathered, “We have to get the community involved.” She talked about the importance of the 40 development assets needed for kids to succeed. She invites anyone who is interested in saving the next generation from substance abuse to join forces.

For more information about the LCC you can contact Goodpaster at 812-212-8406 or email The next meeting of the council is November 18 at 11:30 a.m. at the Purdue Cooperative Extension Office in Osgood.