Third death linked to synthetic marijuana in IL reported

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Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed

The Coles County Health Department joined with departments statewide in issuing a warning about possible dangers of synthetic cannabis use.

All 3 of the deaths associated with synthetic cannabinoids were men, 2 in their 20s and 1 in his 40s.

A third person in IL has died from exposure to drugs called synthetic cannabinoids.

A total of 107 people in central IL have dealt with severe bleeding symptoms from these drugs.

Health officials in IL are warning people about mock marijuana that is spreading across Chicago and the central part of the state, causing severe bleeding among users and, in some cases, death.

Although an official cause of death has not yet been determined, an autopsy detected the presence of brodifacoum, a deadly anticoagulant used in rat poison, which has recently been found in several cases of synthetic marijuana use in IL.

The synthetic cannabinoids, often called Spice, K2 or fake weed, are often sold in convenience stores and gas stations. Three store employees were arrested and face federal drug charges.

Symptoms include coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody noses, bleeding gums and internal bleeding.

According to the IDPH synthetic cannabinoids may affect the brain much more powerfully than normal pot.

"Each day we've seen the number of cases rise", IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah said.

Arnold says, "What we're seeing is a difficulty in getting the message out to the people who are actually using the synthetic cannabinoids".

Melaney Arnold of IDPH says, "These are unregulated products so it's hard to determine where they're coming from. They are not regulated and people don't know what chemicals may be in them, like rat poison".

Synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, is causing violent behavior and unsafe overdoses across the country. They're called cannabinoids because their chemicals are similar to what can be found in a real marijuana plant.

Public health officials have said the product is not safe, and urge that if anyone has purchased it they shouldn't use it.

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