Two dead due to contaminated synthetic pot

04 April, 2018, 01:17 | Author: Nina Hammond
  • 7 2015 by New York Police Department shows packets of synthetic marijuana seized after a search warrant was served at a newsstand in Brooklyn N.Y

The arrests come as IL works to combat a statewide K2 epidemic that as of Monday had killed two and sickened almost 60 others, public health officials said.

In a follow-up of the outbreak of severe bleeding due to the use of synthetic cannabinoids, IL health officials report an additional 18 cases and one death, bringing the outbreak total to 56 severe bleeding cases and two deaths since March 7.

Users have reported a wide range of symptoms, from bleeding gums and bloody noses to blood in the urine. These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana plant, however their effects on health can be unpredictable, harmful, and even deadly. Melanie Arnold with IDPH said they've found a chemical used in rat poison in some of the victims.

If you have used the product and start experiencing severe, unexplained bleeding or bruising, or any reaction to using a synthetic cannabinoid, you should call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately, according to IDPH. "However, synthetic cannabinoids are unregulated and identifying a source or sources is hard".

The substance, synthetic cannabinoids-known to many as "spice" or "K2"-can be bought at gas stations, smoke shops, and online". In fact, they are not safe and may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana; their actual effects can be unpredictable and, in some cases, more unsafe or even life-threatening.

"We strongly urge everyone not to use synthetic cannabinoids", Shah added.

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

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.

In the 1980s, synthetic cannabinoids were considered research compounds but they are now produced overseas, according to the CDC.

The two deaths occurred in Peoria County and Kane County, and cases have been reported in nine counties so far outside Chicago.

In the past few years, doctors have become familiar with the health outcomes people can face when they are exposed to synthetic cannabinoids, said Dr. Patrick Lank, an emergency physician and assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in IL.

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