Synthetic Cannabinoids Linked to Deaths in IL

The accused and the seized marijuana

A third person has died after suffering severe bleeding after using synthetic marijuana, IL public health officials report in a Monday, April 9 update.

In a news release, OLPD did not confirm the man's death occurred because of the synthetic marijuana but said an autopsy revealed the victim had brodifacoum, also known as rat poison, in his system, as well as suffered excessive internal bleeding.

In nine cases in IL, the substances were cut with brodifacoum - or rat poison, according to the statement from the health department. "We strongly urge everyone not to use synthetic cannabinoids".

Health officials are warning about a new form of synthetic marijuana laced with rat poison that is linked to cases of uncontrolled bleeding. While efforts are underway to get the contaminated drugs out of circulation, it's possible they could re-emerge.

It can be made from any one of dozens of chemical compounds manufactured in labs in China, the US and eastern Europe.

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The term "synthetic cannabinoids" applies to numerous mind-altering chemicals similar to those in marijuana that are used to create substitutes, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Other health effects caused by synthetic cannabinoids can include breathing problems, gastrointestinal problems, heart attacks, hypertension, kidney failure, muscle damage, and strokes.

What the state health department says it's struggling with most is getting potential users information on how risky these drugs can be.

Synthetic cannabis is available at convenience stores, gas stations, drug paraphernalia shops and novelty stores, as well as online.

Stenger said the state department is calling the problem a "public health emergency". "Synthetic cannabinoids are unsafe".

The CDC has concurred that the use of synthetic cannabinoids can lead to serious illness or death. But if anyone does have a bad reaction, like severe bleeding, they should call 911 or have someone take them to the hospital immediately.

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