Health Care

2nd synthetic marijuana-related death reported in IL

2nd synthetic marijuana-related death reported in IL

Emergency rooms in IL are noticing a spike in synthetic pot users suffering from "severe bleeding", and state health officials are warning the public to remain vigilant.

The other person who died was was from the Chicago area, said Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold. Nine of the cases tested positive for brodifacoum, or rat poison, according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah told the Chicago Sun Times that some of the chemicals could kill. "Without more information, IDPH does not know how much contaminated product is circulating or where".

The majority of these cases have cropped up in Tazewell County (12), with Chicago (10) coming in second, as of March 30.

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"The recent cases of severe bleeding are evidence of the harm synthetic cannabinoids can cause".

The health department is trying to determine where the 56 people obtained the products before they started bleeding profusely. "The health effects from using synthetic cannabinoids can be unpredictable and harmful-even life threatening", the statement read.

"There could be additional deaths coming; it is hard to say", she added.

McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis said synthetic cannabinoids are "on everyone's radar", including health officials, emergency medical services and law enforcement. None of those cases was fatal.

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

Synthetic cannabinoids are mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material for smoking or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices, IDPH said. They only fall under the same name as the active ingredient in real marijuana because the chemicals act on the same brain cell receptors as the main active ingredient in real marijuana.

The IDPH said early treatment is vital for people who have hypoprothrombinemia.

"They include things like seizures, heart attack, kidney failure", said Lank, who was not involved in the recent synthetic cannabinoid cases. "Or if this is potentially a new side effect of a new synthetic cannabinoid". "They can contain a variety of chemicals, and users often don't know what those are, such as rat poison".

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