Synthetic marijuana, which is often called Spice, has been the cause of thousands of people being sent to the ER in a recent spike. The drug is designed to mimic the effects of marijuana and can be purchased in many convenience stores or gas stations throughout the country. While it is billed as synthetic marijuana, the effects of the drug are intense, dangerous and sometimes deadly. As synthetic marijuana gains more popularity among youth and young adults, hospitals are noticing an alarming trend of users having to be admitted due to complications from ingesting the drug.
Emergency calls aren’t just coming from individuals who have taken the drug, they’re coming from institutions as well. “It’s been more than 90 percent hospitals this year. It’s not, ‘Hey, I smoked this thing and I don’t feel well.’ It’s, ‘This guy’s trying to tear up the E.R. and we have him locked down in restrains. We don’t know what he’s taken. What do we do?’” explained a 911 operator employee.
Reports have come in regarding the types of calls poison control centers and DEA field offices have received throughout the country. The amount of people who have had adverse effects from synthetic marijuana have increased four times since 2014.
The drug often appeals to the younger generation because it can be easily purchased and some variations are still not technically illegal. It usually comes in little packages with bright colors and is often labeled as some type of potpourri or incense. People who use this drug really have no idea what they’re going to be ingesting, as it is a chemical cocktail sprayed on some dried leaves. Common side effects can include paranoia, extreme depression, auditory and visual hallucinations, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and behavior, seizures and other complications.