More than 70 people overdosed on synthetic marijuana this past weekend in New Haven, Connecticut. While some still face life-threatening injuries, no deaths have been reported.
Local first responders arrived at a chaotic scene in downtown New Haven Green, where victims were found in semi-conscious states. According to Rick Fontanta, director of the city’s Emergency Operations, victims experienced vomiting, high blood pressure, slow breathing, and intense hallucinations.
Three arrests have been made, but police have yet to release the identity of the involved individuals.
In recent months, a handful of deaths have been linked to synthetic cannabis, four of which included residents of Illinois – across the state, more than 150 people have been hospitalized for overdosing on synthetic marijuana this year.
In response to the spike of reports in Illinois, the CDC recently released a report that revealed 52% of victims were found to have traces of brodifacoum, a highly lethal vitamin K antagonist often found in rat poison.
“The most important thing to know is that the synthetics are absolutely not marijuana. The warnings you see from the CDC and NIH are not scare tactics. Be careful out there,” warned William Fantegrossi in an interview with Tonic.
While synthetic marijuana may look like the real-deal, it’s far from it; unlike marijuana, synthetic cannabis is actually ground up plant material with chemicals sprayed on it. The product often referred to as K2 or Spice mostly goes untested, leaving consumers in the dark on potential health dangers.
The illness and deaths caused by synthetic marijuana pose a serious public health risk, and will continue to until more common sense drug laws are adopted.