New York state authorities have issued a health alert following a dramatic spike in hospital visits for synthetic marijuana-related emergencies.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that more than 160 patients in nine days have been rushed to hospitals across the state for adverse reactions to synthetic cannabinoid, known as “spice” or “K2.”
“Spice” and other similar synthetic drugs are often marketed as legal plant material coated with chemicals that are supposed to mimic the effects of marijuana, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
Lorenzo Ferrigno says Alabama has experienced a similar spike in overdoses, which can lead to severe, possibly permanent, brain damage:
Symptoms after use have a wide range of severity, from confusion, drowsiness and headaches to increased heart rate, seizures and loss of consciousness, according to the New York State Department of Health.
Synthetic marijuana is popular among teens because it is marketed as incense or natural products to “mask its true purpose,” the health department statement said.
“Young people may be fooled into thinking that these substances are safe because they are sold over the counter or are in colorful packaging, but they are not made for human consumption,” New York Alcohol and Substance Abuse Service s Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez Sanchez said. “They are dangerous and can have significant, long-term effects on the brain.”
Without condoning it, the real thing seems tame in comparison, doesn’t it?