New York City emergency rooms are seeing an outbreak of synthetic smokable drug-related illnesses, according to the city’s health department.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a warning on Sunday urging people not to buy or use “synthetic cannabinoids,” which are often sold at head shops under names like K2, Spice, and Green Giant. The agency says it’s gotten reports of 15 fake weed-related emergency room visits over the past two days, concentrated in East Harlem, Central Harlem and Chelsea.
Synthetic pot has been illegal in New York state since 2012, when Governor Andrew Cuomo banned it after a run of sometimes deeply hysterical stories on the drug’s effects. But the dangers aren’t entirely overhyped. Synthetic weed is made of an unpredictable blend of ingredients, and used by a particularly young and naive population: the health department says that, according to calls received by the city’s Poison Control Department, most fake pot users are teenagers or young adults. The agency says it’s seen a 220% increase in emergency room visits related to fake weed over this time last year.
Read the rest at the Village Voice.