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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Synthetic Marijuana Related ER Visits

People who use synthetic marijuana are often unaware just how dangerous it can be; in fact, many users believe the drugs to be fairly benign. Drugs like “K2” and “Spice” have been responsible for a number of emergency room visits in recent years. Research in a new government report showed that emergency rooms visits due to synthetic marijuana more than doubled between 2010 and 2011, HealthDay reports.

“These injury reports compel us to get the word out to all segments of the community — especially youth — that these products can cause significant harm,” noted Pamela Hyde, Administrator at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in a news release.

More than 28,500 emergency room visits can be linked to synthetic marijuana in 2011, up from 11,400 in 2010, according to the report. The number of teens ages 12 to 17, that went to the ER because of synthetic marijuana rose from about 3,800 to nearly 7,600 during that year. Young adults ages 18 to 20 rose from about 2,000 to more than 8,000.

Synthetic marijuana physical effects can include:
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Control
  • Increased Agitation
  • Pale Skin
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Lack of Pain Response
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Elevated Heart Rate and Palpitations
  • Uncontrolled/Spastic Body Movements
Mental effects can include:
  • Severe Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
While the Synthetic Drug Prevention Act of 2012, which prohibits the sale or possession of some types of synthetic marijuana, has had some effect; policing synthetic drugs continues to be extremely difficult. “Manufacturers of these compounds continue to modify their chemical structures in an attempt to evade current laws,” notes SAMHSA.

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