Hash Oil Trend Hitting Virginia

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Hash oil, it's a growing West Coast drug trend that has made its way to Virginia.

It's already killed one Radford college student and now local drug enforcement agents are on high alert.

"We know it's probably coming to this area. We've dealt with hash oil in a couple of cases that have been brought in from outside areas kind of thing where we tracked the intelligence back, outside of Rockingham County," said Special Agent Mark Campbell with the RUSH Drug Task Force, who is training his officers to recognize hash oil.

It's derived from marijuana and uses THC, the potent chemical in marijuana, to give users a high.

Some of the ingredients in hash oil are legal and sold in stores.

One of those includes butane fuel; however, some stores require you to enter your birth date to purchase the fuel to confirm you are over 18 years old.

One danger of this illegal drug is the threat of an explosion because of butane fuel.

"It could be the static electricity off of your clothes, anything that's an ignition source or anything that will cause a spark," said Campbell.

Just last month, Radford University student Ryan Koon died and Radford Police said a butane hash oil lab caused the house fire.

Campbell said if there was a lab here, the clean up would be handled exactly like a meth lab operation.

"Because the potential for the explosion, the potential for the things to go bad with the gas that's used or the chemicals that are used," said Campbell.

Campbell also said training officers and letting others know the dangers of the drug is key to stopping it.

"Unless you know what it looks like it could mimic an improvised explosion device. They actually look like pipe bombs, if you don't know what you're looking at," said Campbell.

After trying to talk with Koon's parents, his mother said her son's death was just too soon and too raw to talk about.

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