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89 hospitalized and 2 dead in Illinois after using synthetic marijuana

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 28: A man is consoled as paramedics take him to the hospital for what is thought to be an overdose of K2 or ‘Spice’, a synthetic marijuana drug, along a street in East Harlem on August 28, 2015 in New York City. New York, along with other cities, is experiencing a deadly epidemic of synthetic marijuana usage including varieties known as K2 or ‘Spice’ which can cause extreme reactions in some users. According to New York’s health department, more than 120 people visited an emergency room in the city in just one week in April. While the state banned the ingredients used to make K2 in 2012, distributors have switched to other ingredients and names in an attempt to circumvent the law. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
As of Thursday, April 5th, 89 people have been hospitalized in the city of Chicago and surrounding neighbourhoods after ingesting synthetic cannabis known as K2 or Spice, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).Among the patients admitted for treatment, the largest numbers came from Chicago (24) and Peoria County (24) all of which experienced severe bleeding when they were admitted. The IDPH has reported two deaths since March 30th, with the first reports of poisoning beginning on March 10th.

At least nine patients have tested positive for a substance known as brodifacoum, a chemical used in rat poison, with symptoms including nosebleeds, blood in urine, coughing up blood and bleeding gums.

Synthetic cannabis is a man-made chemical compound designed to act on the cannabinoid receptors and is sprayed onto plant material to mimic the real thing. It can be smoked or vaporized just like real cannabis but is considered to be far more dangerous due to the unpredictability of its contents.

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