We are so grateful that the New York Daily News is taking an interest in the topic of synthetic marijuana, and that some of the national attention may help stop the spread of this poison.
Even if people are warned about its dangers, they still have no idea what they are getting into when they pick up a package of fake weed.
Many think that these health warnings are fake, or that they are issued by people who just want to “regulate everything.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
These are poisons, sold in grocery stores and tobacco shops. They are deadly.
Exclusive: Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah sounds alarm after Daily News report
BY HEIDI EVANS / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, March 23, 2012, 5:00 AM
New York’s top doctor issued a rare public health alert Thursday, warning health professionals across the state to be on the look out for “the emerging threat” posed by synthetic marijuana.
Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah sent up the alarm two days after a Daily News investigation into the dangers of the legal but potentially lethal concoction sold under the guise of incense and potpourri.
“Calls to New York State Poison Control Centers have increased dramatically in 2012 and severe side effects including death, acute renal failure as well as significant negative effects to the cardiovascular and central nervous systems have been linked to the use of these products,” the commissioner said in the two-page warning.
The imitation weed is sold in convenience stores and head shops from Greenwich Village to the Rockaways for as little as $10.
The packets bear dozens of names, such as K2, Spice, iAroma and Killer Buzzz .
The crushed herbs inside are coated with chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
To avoid regulation, they are marked “not for human consumption” — but one out of nine teens has inhaled synthetic pot to get high, according to a national survey.
Some states and counties have banned the substance, but legislation has not passed in New York, and a federal law is being held up.
Gov. Cuomo, who pledged to support a ban, said the Health Department’s alert is “a first step to ending the sale of synthetic marijuana which poses a serious threat to the public’s health.”
Emergency room visits for health problems from smoking it have skyrocketed in the last three years.
But a study published this week in the journal Pediatrics said the drug is so new many doctors may not recognize side effects.
The state’s advisory spelled out what New York’s physicians should watch for: racing hearts, paranoid behavior, nausea and vomiting, high blood pressure, seizures and loss of consciousness.
“It is important to note that these products do not show up on a urine screen of THC,” Shah wrote.
The alert also asked health providers to alert the Drug Enforcement Administration if they find retailers selling these products and to call (877) 883-5789.