Pennsylvania

Synthetic Marijuana Causes 125 Overdoses in 6 Days Across Lancaster County

Synthetic Marijuana Indictments
AP

Officials in a Pennsylvania county say they have treated dozens of people who overdosed on synthetic marijuana since the weekend.

Executive Director of Lancaster Emergency Medical Services Bob May tells Lancaster Online first responders received 65 overdose calls between Friday and Monday morning alone.

The Lancaster County coroner says none of the overdoses were fatal.

On Wednesday afternoon, Governor Tom Wolf's Adminstration put the total overdoses in the past handful of days at 125.

“Synthetic marijuana is a man-made mind-altering chemical, that isn’t marijuana at all but made to mirror its effects,” Acting Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs Jennifer Smith said. “It can have a much more powerful effect on the brain than chemicals found in the marijuana plant. The chemicals in them are often unknown, dangerous and deadly.”

Synthetic marijuana, often marketed as K2, is a hallucinogen that can raise a person's blood pressure and cause reduced blood supply to the heart. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says the chemical can cause kidney damage and seizures.

The district attorney's office says users of the drug can become erratic and aggressive.

K2 overdoses are difficult to treat.

“Synthetic drugs like K2 make treating overdoses especially difficult because we don’t know what chemicals or other drugs were used to make them,” Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said. “The life-saving drug naloxone is not effective in reversing overdoses from K2 or other synthetic drugs. First responders and emergency rooms across the state are being notified of these overdoses and what to look for in their communities.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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