Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Synthetic Marijuana Laced With Rat Poison is Causing Uncontrollable Bleeding, NYPD Warns

Synthetic Marijuana Laced With Rat Poison is Causing Uncontrollable Bleeding, NYPD Warns

Officials say that while authorities haven't found the substance in NY yet, cases of severe and life-threatening bleeding have been reported in five states: Illinois, Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri.

Though the substance has not yet been found in NY, it has been linked to cases of severe or life threatening bleeding in Illinois, Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri.

The department says two deaths were men in their 20's and a third death was a man in his 40's. Many people have tested positive for brodifacoum, a lethal anticoagulant often used in rat poison.

Several synthetic cannabinoid users who were treated for severe bleeding tested positive for a chemical called brodifacoum, a pesticide used in rat poison, Megan Wade-Taxter, spokeswoman for the in health department, said in an email. Because of this similarity, synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes misleadingly called "synthetic marijuana" (or "fake weed"), and they are often marketed as safe, legal alternatives to that drug.

"We strongly urge people not to use synthetic cannabinoids", she added, but she said that those who do use and then experience severe bleeding should be taken to the hospital for treatment.

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The Indiana State Department of Health issued a warning March 28 as the situation bloomed.

McLean County Coroner Kathy Davis and Tazewell County Coroner Brian Foley said there have been no confirmed synthetic cannabinoid deaths in those two counties.

"The number of cases continues to go up each day", Melaney Arnold, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said Tuesday. Sprayed onto dried plant material, they can be smoked or are sold as liquids to be vaporized in e-cigarettes.

In 2016, the state targeted shops selling synthetic marijuana. Many synthetic cannabinoids also are illegal. Other health effects caused by synthetic cannabinoids can include breathing problems, gastrointestinal problems, heart attacks, hypertension, kidney failure, muscle damage, and strokes.

The federal government and many states have banned some of these products or specific ingredients, but the CDC says manufacturers skirt these laws by creating new products or labeling them "not for human consumption".

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