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Rodent poison in fake weed kills 2, more hospitalized

09 April 2018

Sold as K2 or "Spice", synthetic cannabinoids are chemicals that are "sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices", according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The condition is known as synthetic cannabinoid-associated coagulopathy.

The department reports in a Thursday, April 5 news release that brodifacoum is an "off-white, odorless powder poison" that has been identified in 70 cases between March 7 and April 2 in IL.

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Public health officials continue to investigate to try to identify any common brand and determine where synthetic cannabinoids were obtained. So far, their best guess is rat poison. According to the MDHHS, the deaths and severe and persistent bleeding are caused by the chemical brodifacoum, an off-white and odorless poison, a pesticide commonly used to kill rats.

In a statement, the Cook County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar warned that brodifacoum can be highly lethal and that it should not be consumed. The substance's source for the other users has yet to be identified.

Authorities there believe the synthetic marijuana was laced with rat poison, which had the affect of taking high doses of blood thinners, Anderson said.

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Packaged in shiny wrappers, synthetic weed is easily purchased at stations and convenience stores. Anyone suffering from bruising, bleeding from the gums, nosebleeds, vomiting blood, or blood in urine after using fake weed must immediately seek medical attention.

"The recent cases of severe bleeding are evidence of the harm synthetic cannabinoids can cause".

Wisconsin law bans the sale of synthetic cannabinoids. Federal prosecutors say U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents made undercover buys of the synthetic cannabinoids at Masoud's West Side Chicago store. Without more information, IDPH does not know how much contaminated product is circulating or where.

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Rodent poison in fake weed kills 2, more hospitalized