Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Store clerks charged with selling synthetic marijuana in Chicago appear in court

GettyImages-483036564 IDPH: Peoria man dead, rat poison chemical found in synthetic marijuana
Jerome Frank | 04 April, 2018, 01:13

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.

Two people have now been reported dead among dozens of cases of synthetic marijuana users who've turned up to IL hospitals in recent weeks complaining of severe bleeding.

All of the victims have required hospitalization for such symptoms as coughing up blood, blood in the urine, a severe bloody nose and/or bleeding gums, according to IDPH.

"We continue to see the number of cases rise", said IDPH Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah.

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

One of the deaths was in Chicago and the other in central IL.

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.

While numerous cases report acquiring the synthetic cannabinoid products in the Chicagoland area, contaminated products could be in counties across the state. "However, synthetic cannabinoids are unregulated and identifying a source or sources is hard". "We strongly urge everyone not to use synthetic cannabinoids".

"The health effects from using synthetic cannabinoids can be unpredictable, harmful, and deadly", IDPH said in a release. Individuals reported obtaining synthetic cannabinoid products (i.e., K2, spice, synthetic marijuana) from convenience stores, dealers, and friends.

The health effects of using synthetic cannabinoids can be unpredictable, unsafe and possibly life-threatening because it's hard to know what's in them or how a person will be react to them.

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.

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

One study of a synthetic cannabinoid found that it was 85 times as potent as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the mind-altering chemical in marijuana.

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

People who smoke synthetic cannabinoids can have rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion and hallucinations, according to the CDC. Officials are warning people who have bought the products not to use them, and those who have already used the products and are experiencing symptoms to seek immediate medical help.

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