Health Care

Synthetic pot leaves 2 dead, dozens injured in IL

Synthetic pot leaves 2 dead, dozens injured in IL

Nine of these cases have tested positive for brodifacoum, a lethal anticoagulant often used as a rodenticide, or rat poison.

The substance, synthetic cannabinoids-known to many as "spice" or "K2"-can be bought at gas stations, smoke shops, and online".

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

Now, at least one person in IL has died from K2, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The DOH had been investigating for over a week an "unusual cluster of cases" of severe bleeding in individuals that resulted in coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe blood nose and bleeding gums.

"Illinois has not seen something on this scale tied to synthetic cannabinoids", Arnold said.

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.

There are now cases in at least eight Chicago-area communities including Cook County, Dupage County, Kane County, McLean County, Peoria County, Tazewell County and Will County.

'Because these products are not regulated, it's hard to know the chemical make-up, source and distribution'.

Firefighters and medics try to help a combative man who was passed out on to a stretcher on Locust Street at 14th Street on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. Two men were taken to the hospital by ambulance with suspected K2 overdoses.

Synthetic cannabinoid - often called Spice or K2 - is a mixture of hundreds of chemicals that can come as a spray to coat plant material for smoking or as a liquid to be used in e-cigarettes or other devices, according to the health department. The health effects from using synthetic cannabinoids can be unpredictable, harmful, and deadly.

These chemicals are called cannabinoids because they are similar to chemicals found in the marijuana plant. That study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2016.

The IDPH has said synthetic pot manufacturers could be tweaking the recipe for these products to get around a statewide ban and allow them to be sold legally.

"They include things like seizures, heart attack, kidney failure", said Lank, who was not involved in the recent synthetic cannabinoid cases. "Why they're happening? We're still uncertain", he said.

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