04 April, 2018
Synthetic cannabinoids, often called Spice or K2, are linked to cases of bleeding that have resulted in at least two deaths in the state of IL.
Synthetic marijuana, more commonly called by its aforementioned colloquial terms, has been found to be highly risky.
That's almost triple the number reported last week when IL health officials first warned of the new side effect of the drug known as "fake weed", "K2" and "spice". Almost half of the cases came from the Peoria area, while over 20 cases came from Chicago. Nine of these cases have tested positive for brodifacoum, a lethal anticoagulant often used as a rodenticide, or rat poison.
Most of the people who've been treated for bleeding from the eyes, nose, and lungs after smoking fake pot are from central IL.
Exposure to brodifacoum results in the body blocking its natural use of vitamin K, which is crucial to the process of blood clotting, explains Patrick Lank, a medical toxicologist of the Northwestern Memorial Hospital. To ready area pharmacies, health officials warned Chicago stores that patients might fill prescriptions for high doses of Vitamin K, the Chicago Tribune reported.
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The number of cases continues to rise as state health officials struggle to identify the source and chemical makeup of the contaminated synthetic pot.
Shah said IDPH is working with local health departments as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify the products, but "without more information, IDPH does not know how much contaminated product is circulating or where".
"The synthetic cannabinoids were packaged in sealed containers and labeled with such names as "Matrix, ' 'Blue Giant" and 'Crazy Monkey, '" federal agents said.
Many questions about the unfortunate outbreak still loom large.
The Department of Public Health reports that 20 of the 38 people in the state who smoked a bad batch of synthetic marijuana live in Peoria, Tazewell, or McLean Counties.
Two of those people have died, IDPH has said.
The store workers - Fouad Masoud, 48, Jad Allah, 44, and Adil Khan Mohammed, 44 - were charged on Monday after undercover federal agents said the men sold them synthetic marijuana, known as K2, according to a criminal complaint.