Coles County Health Department joins others in warning about synthetic cannabis

11 April, 2018, 12:40 | Author: Keith Rowe
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Local health departments in IL are sharing a warning from the state about the dangers of synthetic cannabinoids. Two of the men who died were in their 20s and the third man was in his 40s.

Three people have died in IL after using synthetic cannabinoids, more commonly known as "synthetic marijuana" or "fake pot". In a report released April 10, 2018, fake marijuana likely contaminated with rat poison has killed 3 people and sickened more than 100 others.

This comes a week after officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services sent out a warning to residents about the spike in issues linked to the use of synthetic marijuana containing brodifacoum in neighboring IL. Sprayed onto dried plant material, they can be smoked or are sold as liquids to be vaporized in e-cigarettes.

Arrests have been made in Chicago and Peoria in connection to this outbreak. Symptoms may range from unexplained bruising, bleeding from the nose or gums, blood in the urine or stools, coughing up or vomiting blood, to bleeding in the brain.

"Each day we've seen the number of cases rise", said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.

Melaney Arnold of IDPH says, "These are unregulated products so it's hard to determine where they're coming from".


"They are not regulated and people don't know what chemicals may be in them, like rat poison", she said.

There are state and federal laws which work to prohibit the sale of synthetic cannabinoids, but the problem is by slightly altering the chemical makeup products can legally end up back on shelves in convince stores and gas stations as well as online.

Though the synthetic cannabis is illegal, the key can be to look at the packaging to determine if that's what it contains, Stenger added.

Synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, is causing violent behavior and risky overdoses across the country. "We are telling people don't use synthetic cannabinoids".

The chemicals are similar to those found in natural marijuana.

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

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