3rd death tied to synthetic marijuana

Phillip Cunningham
April 11, 2018

There has been another death in IL involving synthetic marijuana use.

The synthetic cannabinoids, often called Spice, K2 or fake weed, are often sold in convenience stores and gas stations.

Two of the deaths were men in their 20s, and the other man was in his 40s, according to a news release from the department. Symptoms included coughing up blood, blood in urine, a severe bloody nose, bleeding gums and/or internal bleeding, according to the statement.

Some have tested positive for an anticoagulant often used as rat poison.

"IDPH is continuing to work with local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with other partners, to try to identify common products", said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Department of Public Health.

Health officials are warning about a new form of synthetic marijuana laced with rat poison that is linked to cases of uncontrolled bleeding. "While efforts are under way to get contaminated drugs out of circulation, it's possible they could re-emerge".


Quincy police Deputy Chief of Operations Doug VanderMaiden said officers saw a jump in synthetic cannabinoids a couple of summers ago but they have not come across it lately.

Three deaths in IL are being connected to the use of synthetic cannabinoids.

The chemicals are similar to those found in natural marijuana.

From 2010 to 2015, the number of poisonings from toxic exposures surged across the United States, revealing 456 cases involving synthetic cannabinoids, according to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. While the substances are meant to mimic the effects of marijuana, they are often far more unsafe for users. IDPH leaders say the health effects they cause can be "unpredictable, harmful and deadly".

The CDC has concurred that the use of synthetic cannabinoids can lead to serious illness or death. Many synthetic cannabinoids also are illegal.

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

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