synthetic weed

Wikimedia

CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois officials are warning of a spike in the number of patients going to emergency rooms after using dangerous synthetic drugs.

 The Illinois Poison Center on Tuesday said it has received almost 20 calls from emergency departments about the drugs in the past week. According to the center, that's an increase of 600 percent compared with the typical week.

Synthetic cannabinoids are sometimes sold under names such as "K2" and "spice."  

Illinois US Senator Mark Kirk is cracking down on the export of synthetic marijuana. IPR’s Mariam Sobh reports.

Kirk says O’Hare International Airport is among the top 5 hubs for the substance. Drug Enforcement Administration officials believe the synthetic drug was invented and produced in China. Kirk says he is applying pressure to the Chinese government, because it’s not only a health hazard, but is also a security issue. DEA officials say side effects of using synthetic weed include psychotic episodes, seizures, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting and even catatonia.