Alarm sounded on new form of synthetic marijuana

Apr 11, 2018, 11:24
Alarm sounded on new form of synthetic marijuana

The deaths are among 107 reported incidences of individuals who experienced severe bleeding after using these products that also are known as fake weed, K2, or spice.

The people who died were all men, two in their 20s and one in his 40s. Health officials say many of them have tested positive for a lethal anticoagulant often used in rat poison.

"Each day we've seen the number of cases rise", IDPH Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah. said in a released statement. "Synthetic cannabinoids are unsafe".

Public health officials have said the product is not safe, and urge that if anyone has purchased it they shouldn't use it. While efforts are underway to get the contaminated drugs out of circulation, it's possible they could re-emerge.

Since the Governor announced the crackdown in 2016, State Police have made 13 arrests, seized more than 1,100 packets of synthetic marijuana, and one three-pound bulk seizure.

The federal and state governments have taken action against synthetic marijuana and other drugs by banning chemical compounds used to manufacture the products. Other health effects caused by synthetic cannabinoids can include breathing problems, gastrointestinal problems, heart attacks, hypertension, kidney failure, muscle damage, and strokes.

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The owner of a Chicago convenience store and two employees have been charged with selling synthetic marijuana that has been linked to two of the recent deaths.

"These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana plant".

Synthetic cannabinoids are classified as a controlled substance and their possession can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the amount possessed. While state law has banned numerous substances, manufacturers often change ingredients to stay a step ahead of the law.

"Just (Monday) we sent information from the Illinois Department of Public Health's website on the situation out to our officers for their awareness", he said.

If you experience any symptoms, call 911 or have someone drive you to a hospital emergency department immediately, Foley and Sparkman said.