26 April, 2018
Three men and a woman have all died in IL from taking the synthetic marijuana laced with rat poison.
Officials believe at least some of the tainted drug originated in the Chicago area, where a 20-year-old man died. It was determined that they were suffering from a chemical found in rat poison called brodifacoum, which prevents blood from clotting.
Symptoms include coughing up blood, blood in the urine, bloody nose, bleeding gums, internal bleeding, and/or back pain near the kidneys.
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The number of people who have been sickened increased over the last two weeks to more than 150 in IL alone - with additional cases popping up in several nearby states. "Like so many other drugs, synthetic cannabinoids are addictive and people are not able to give them up. It's not from what we can tell the synthetic marijuana itself that's causing the bleeding".
Because of the large amount of vitamin K needed, the long duration of treatment, and costs up to thousands of dollars per patient, IDPH started discussions with key stakeholders to find a solution with no financial burden on patients. The donation comes from the Bausch Foundation, the independent charitable organization of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. "This donation will allow every individual who has experienced severe bleeding, as well as any future cases, to receive lifesaving treatment free of charge". Often the chemical ingredients, which are mixed with plant materials, changed to dodge certain laws, resulting in unpredictable, unsafe and deadly results.
Synthetic cannabinoids became illegal in IL on January 1, 2011, yet they continue to be manufactured and illegally sold as "safe" alternatives to marijuana.