NEW YORK (PIX11) — Officials issued a warning over the usage of synthetic marijuana after more than a dozen people were hospitalized after they ingested the drug.
There were at least 15 emergency room visits related to possible ingestion of synthetic cannabinoids between last Thursday and Sunday. The patients were from East Harlem, Central Harlem and Chelsea, according to the New York State Health Department.
Health officials said they’ve seen a 220 percent increase in emergency department visits related to synthetic cannabinoids this year alone.
“K2, Spice, Green Giant– no matter what you call it, synthetic cannabinoids are dangerous and illegal,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Basset said. “I urge people not to use these products, which have caused a huge spike in emergency rooms visits this year.”
Ingredients in synthetic marijuana change frequently and therefore the risks and consequences of using them are unpredictable, Basset’s agency said.
Reactions include seizures and hallucinations but symptoms usually do not last longer than one or two hours, health officials said.
The Health Department urges New Yorkers who see synthetic cannabinoids for sale to report to 311, which will send the information to NYPD.