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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.  — Synthetic marijuana was banned in North Carolina in 2011, but can still be purchased in some stores and online.

“I want people to know the signs and what this stuff can really do to you,” said Kris Carroll who first got hooked in 2009 when it was legal and could be bought at some gas stations. “I lost everything and didn’t care.  As long as I had some, I was fine.”

The drug goes by many names including K-2 and spice. It’s been linked to brain damage in a Texas teen and several deaths in Colorado.

Carroll, now in recovery, says some stores and smoke shops still sell it as a potpourri with a label, “not for human consumption.” Law enforcement says they are aware and are working to stop it.

Carroll says the high only last about 15 minutes which forced him and others like him to constantly need to smoke it. Without the drug he would be extremely irritable.  He eventually became homeless.

“I was living out of my car for about two months.  I didn’t care about my job, hygiene, relationships, and my child. I would do anything to get it; steal from family, steal from friends.”

The 24-year-old is sharing his story in hopes of educating others about the dangers of synthetic marijuana and the warning signs of an addict.

He hopes to one day help others as a substance abuse counselor.