Third death reported from synthetic cannabinoids

Third death reported from synthetic cannabinoids

Third death reported from synthetic cannabinoids

CHICAGO, Ill. (AP) Fake marijuana likely contaminated with rat poison has killed three people in IL and caused severe bleeding in more than 100 others, including a few in four other states.

Two other deaths, both men in their 20s, have also been tied to the consumption of the drug, which goes by the names spice, K2 and fake weed, health officials said.

A public health investigation found that synthetic cannabinoids were likely contaminated with brodifacoum, which is used in commercial products to kill rodents. A strain of the drug is causing life threatening bleeding.

"This poisoning is unique in that its effects can last weeks to months".

Symptoms include coughing up blood, blood in urine, and bleeding from the nose, eyes and gums. "Even without symptoms, the blood's ability to clot is severely impaired and risk of bleeding is high", Dr. Jenny Lu, a toxicologist and emergency medicine physician at Stroger Hospital, told CBS Chicago.

Synthetic cannabinoids are human-made, mind-altering chemicals that are sprayed on to dried plant material.

In Illinois, 17 cases have been reported in the Chicago area since March 7, followed by 14 cases in Peoria County and 12 cases in Tazewell County, according to the most recent data from the state health department.

"Each day we've seen the number of cases rise", said IDPH director Nirav D. Shah, who emphasized that "synthetic cannabinoids are unsafe".

The CDC and the IDPH are urging anyone who has a reaction to synthetic cannabinoids, including severe bleeding, to seek emergency medical treatment.

Other states, including Indiana, Maryland, Missouri and Wisconsin, have reported cases involving patients with severe bleeding after synthetic marijuana use.

The state issued the warning Monday. Three store employees were arrested and face federal drug charges.

"We're making sure kids and adults are aware if they're offered this that they know what to look for and what to do", she said.

"Acute kidney injury requiring hospitalization and dialysis in several patients reportedly having smoked synthetic cannabinoids has also been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention".

Related news