Synthetic pot leaves 2 dead, dozens injured in IL

Synthetic pot leaves 2 dead, dozens injured in IL

Synthetic pot leaves 2 dead, dozens injured in IL

Two people are dead and more than 50 people have been hospitalized after consuming synthetic cannabis that is causing severe bleeding, according to health officials.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), two people have died and 56 people have experienced severe bleeding after using synthetic cannabinoids.

Along with bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, other symptoms have included coughing up blood, blood in the urine and bleeding gums.

IDPH Director Nirav Shah says synthetic marijuana is not safe for anyone to use.

Health officials warn that anyone who has a reaction to synthetic cannabinoids immediately should call 911 or be taken to an emergency department.

"If you use synthetic drugs, you're playing Russian roulette with your life", Smith said. IDPH spokeswoman Melaney Arnold told the Chicago newspaper that the product is banned for sale across the state, but some manufacturers alter the "molecular makeup of the products" to "get around" the law.

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.

"We've had to be a little bit creative with the ways that we've gone about identifying patients, making sure we're getting messaging to physicians, and then working with our partners on the law enforcement side to make sure that they're doing what they can to work on the supply side", Arwady said.

Illinois State Police and Chicago Police allegedly traced several of the cases to King Mini Mart in Lawndale, according to the Chicago Tribune. The products, which have been around for years, can be smoked or vaporized in e-cigarettes and are commonly sold in convenience stores, gas stations and drug paraphernalia shops across the United States.

Arnold said that the Centers for Disease Control are sending epidemiologists to help in the investigation.

The IDPH is doubling down on its warning that synthetic marijuana is not a safe alternative to marijuana.

Since 2015 hundreds of people across the USA have overdosed and been hospitalized after smoking too much or bad batches of synthetic cannabis.

People who smoke synthetic cannabinoids can have rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion and hallucinations, according to the CDC. The IDPH report said users claimed they obtained them through convenience stores, dealers and friends. "Why they're happening? We're still uncertain", he said.

The samples tested positive for brodifacoum, a widely used pesticide used in rat poison and highly potent anticoagulant.

Related news