Synthetic Marijuana Deaths Have Tripled This Year
Author: Justin Mckibben
The use of synthetic marijuana has not been eliminated, even though several states have legalized actual marijuana. In fact synthetic marijuana abuse continues to rise throughout the United States. And with that rise, overdoses and deaths caused by the drug have also shot higher and higher.
We have discussed the dangers of synthetic drugs, and the unpredictability of the chemical compounds making them more dangerous, with debates on the connection between these substances and deaths of users sometimes tied to bizarre circumstances.
Now a new report has put the sting back in the subject, suggesting synthetic marijuana deaths have tripled in the last year alone!
CDC Corners Synthetic Stats
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected the information used to determine how much damage synthetics have done thus far, and the study found:
- 15 people have died from synthetic marijuana use between January and May of 2015.
- That is 3 times the amount of deaths reported between January and May of last year, 2014
- Approximately 3,572 calls were made to poison control centers for issues related to synthetic cannabinoid between January and May
- That is an increase of 229% in calls made to poison control centers last year between January and May
- More than 80% of calls were from men
- Average user age was 26 years old
A lot of people, including police officials believe the reasons behind such prominence is the synthetic drugs are being marketed in a way very inconsistent with how dangerous they are. Donna Bush, a forensic toxicology specialist at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) agrees, and said:
“These synthetic cannabinoids were originally designed as research chemicals for use in the laboratory, trying to identify cannabinoid receptors in the brain, [not] to be used on the streets.”
A lot of these packages are marketed as ‘safe’ and legal alternatives to marijuana, while others are sold under the disguise of products labeled ‘not made for human consumption’ on the packaging.
Further Speculations and Studies
Last year SAMSHA released a report on synthetic cannabinoid-related emergency department visits, and during that study the SAMSHA noted that the emergency room visits associated to synthetic marijuana products have skyrocketed.
- From 11,407 in 2010
- Up to 28,531 in 2011
That study also showed that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) received:
- 469 synthetic cannabinoid-related reports in 2010
- 17,000 synthetic cannabinoid-related reports in 2011
As if those numbers weren’t troubling enough, other information has also shown that these synthetic cannabinoid substances are also being abused at younger ages than ever before!
In 2012 a government survey found it was the second-most commonly used illegal drug among high school seniors, only trailing behind traditional marijuana.
1 out of every 9 high school seniors in America reported to using synthetic cannabinoids.
Tracking the Trends
One of the big issues facing those fighting synthetic drug abuse is the makers are constantly re-arranging the chemicals and repackaging them to make them increasingly difficult to track and prevent from reaching the consumers.
Despite the fact that synthetic marijuana was classified as a Schedule I substance in 2012, drug makers have worked around this with the same shape-shifting strategies that have supported synthetic drugs this long. They changed it into a liquid form of it to sell on the streets and even online.
As a liquid, the drug is put in drinks or even smoked using e-cigarettes and vape pens to get high. This makes it increasingly difficult to spot the drugs.
Synthetic marijuana, along with other synthetic drugs becoming increasingly popular, may be a huge issue for the coming years as they are re-shaping the drug game in many ways.
One way these drugs changed the game was by constantly alternating elements of their formulas to keep them from being illegal. This loop hole was chased around in circles for some time.
Synthetic marijuana products initially got sold as dried and shredded plant materials covered in additives. Now add in the aggravation of trying to keep track of the changing names and packages, even changes in the drugs method of delivery (liquid, powder, etc.) and imagine how hard it is to stay ahead of this problem.
With more people dying, and more data to work with, it should be a real eye-opener that these drugs are not nearly as “safe” as some would have you believe, but how bad will it get before something gets done?
You can do something right here, right now, today. Make a choice that might save a life.
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