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Second Death Due to Synthetic Cannabinoids

04 April 2018, 01:18 | Lucy Hill

IDPH: Peoria man dead, rat poison chemical found in synthetic marijuana

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That's almost triple the number reported last week when IL health officials first warned of the new side effect of the drug known as "fake weed", "K2" and "spice".

Two people have now been reported dead among dozens of cases of synthetic marijuana users who've turned up to IL hospitals in recent weeks complaining of severe bleeding.

IDPH Director Nirav Shah says synthetic marijuana is not safe for anyone to use. These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana plant.

Now, at least one person in IL has died from K2, the Chicago Tribune reported. Melanie Arnold with IDPH said they've found a chemical used in rat poison in some of the victims.

Federal prosecutors have charged three men with the illegal sale of a synthetic marijuana product that has been linked to at least two deaths and 56 illnesses in Illinois, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. "However, synthetic cannabinoids are unregulated and identifying a source or sources is hard".

Synthetic cannabinoids are sold in convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops, novelty stores and online. "We strongly urge everyone not to use synthetic cannabinoids". All 56 have required hospitalization for hemorrhaging; so far the bulk of the cases have been in Chicago, Cook County or Tazewell County, but others are scattered as far as Peoria.

In 2016, 33 people in Brooklyn were made ill from suspected overdoses of synthetic pot.

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The number of acute poisonings from synthetic cannabinoids rose sharply between 2010 and 2015, according to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016.

Synthetic cannabinoids are mind-altering chemicals sprayed onto dried plant materials or sold as liquids to be vaporized in e-cigarettes and other devices.

"These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they act on the same brain cell receptors as the main active ingredient in marijuana", IDPH explained, warning that the drug's impact can be life-threatening.

People who smoke synthetic cannabinoids can have rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion and hallucinations, according to the CDC.

"They include things like seizures, heart attack, kidney failure", said Lank, who was not involved in the recent synthetic cannabinoid cases.

"Synthetic cannabinoids are part of a group of drugs called new psychoactive substances (NPS)".



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