MAY 20, 2015

April reports of synthetic marijuana abuse up 100 percent from first three months of the year

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CHANDLER – The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, which nationally bans 26 different types of synthetic drugs, was established in 2012 in order to put an end to deadly synthetic substances. However, three years after the fact, not only is synthetic marijuana still being abused, its use is more prevalent and even more dangerous than before. In fact, there has been a nationwide increase in the number of emergency room visits and calls to poison control centers associated with use of this drug.

In the first three weeks of April 2015 alone, state poison control centers received around 1,000 reports of negative reactions to synthetic marijuana. This nearly doubled the number of incidents that were reported from January through March of the same year. In the state of Alabama, it was reported that 462 patients visited the hospital as a result of consuming synthetic marijuana. Of those 462 patients, 92 were hospitalized and two died. Additionally, in a span of only 13 days, hospitals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama reported 24 synthetic marijuana overdoses, which included one death. Finally, also in April, more than 400 emergency room visits in Mississippi were linked to use of synthetic marijuana. 

Many experts suspect that part of the reason for such an increase in emergencies related to synthetic marijuana, could in part be due to the dangerous formulations that are used to make this substance. The producers of synthetic marijuana create new formulations on a regular basis, and each new formulation presents a whole different set of health risks. Even more troubling, is that producers of synthetic marijuana have been able to continuously stay ahead of authorities because the synthetic formulations can be quickly changed. No sooner is one cannabinoid outlawed than another slightly different drug emerges to take its place. To put this in perspective, by the end of 2012, the federal government had identified at least 51 different types of synthetic marijuana.

However, one thing remains the same. No matter what formula is used in the production of synthetic marijuana, they all carry the same potential for deadly results.

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