According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse a number of states have recently issued alerts due to an increase in overdoses and emergency room visits related to synthetic marijuana.
Captain John Babin of Lafayette Metro Narcotics explains that “it’s a potpourri. They’ll take and spread it out. They’ll spray the compound on it. It’s not controlled and it’s not regulated. It’s just a haphazard way of spraying the compound so you’re getting an inconsistent way of doing it.”
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals issued an emergency rule two weeks ago to ban the use of the chemical compounds used to make synthetic marijuana. The state considers it a controlled dangerous substance with a high potential for abuse. “You might get a stronger dose than what someone else would get which could cause you an issue and not the other person. So, you’re rolling the dice. You never know what you’re going to get,” says Babin.
Lafayette General Emergency Dr. Nicholas Leonards sees the recent increase in cases troubling. He says side effects include seizures, being combative, agitated to the point of psychosis. “We’ve seen several a day. I think maybe 7 or 8 so far. We’ve had people come in and be admitted to the ICU. We had three in one day who had to go to the ICU for it,” explains Dr. Leonards.
“If you’re caught using it or selling it you will be arrested,” adds Captain Babin.