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Dozens Overdose On Synthetic Marijuana In Lancaster County

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Dozens Overdose On Synthetic Marijuana In Lancaster County

Last week, a total of 158 people overdosed on synthetic marijuana in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. While none of the overdoses were deadly, over the course of three days from July 7-10, more than 100 patients were treated for overdoses related to the drug, also known as K2. By Friday, June 14, another 56 had been affected.

C. Robert May, director of Lancaster Emergency Medical Services told CNN:

“Heroin is normally the issue, but in the last week, there’s been an overdose of synthetic marijuana. The assumption is that heroin is not readily available, so people are turning to K2.”

He noted that in the county heroin overdoses heroin overdoses have been average around eight per day.

May said that some of the synthetic overdose calls involved multiple patients, and a few patients repeated in just hours. He said that over the past week, synthetic marijuana overdoses averaged 25 per day, or one every hour. They occurred in homes, street, parks, public bathrooms, and parking lots.

Synthetic marijuana isn’t much like real marijuana at all – it’s far more dangerous. It consists of a combination of herbs, spices, and other plant material with chemicals added that are similar to THC. Chemicals and ingredients may differ from one batch to the next, and the effects can also vary from one person to another, some becoming strung out or violent.

May said that the chemicals often result in very sick patients, who may be found unresponsive and need to be given intensive medical care. Others are “combative and put us at risk.” He also revealed that many of the patients were in the twenties, but ranged in age from mid-teen to early thirties. This is not surprising, as these drugs tend to be most popular among teens and young adults.

This isn’t the first time K2 has caused a rash of overdose. In Brooklyn last year, more than thirty people were sent to the hospital after overdoses were suspected.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

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