Sept. 6: Synthetic marijuana product sends dozens to area hospitals
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, Sept. 6, 2013
Synthetic marijuana sends dozens to area hospitals
DENVER – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, along with the Tri-County Health Department, Denver Health and CDC, has launched an epidemiological investigation after several hospitals reported seeing or admitting patients suffering from effects of smoking synthetic marijuana.
One purpose of the investigation is to attempt to identify whether all the patients were sickened by the same product or different products.
Dr. Tista Ghosh, interim chief medical officer for the state, said, “Initial reports show approximately 75 people who reported smoking a form of synthetic marijuana may have been seen at hospitals in the Denver metro area and Colorado Springs beginning in late August. Several individuals were in intensive care and three deaths are being investigated as possibly associated.
“Don't wait for the results of this investigation. If you have synthetic marijuana, stop using it and destroy it,” said Dr. Ghosh.
State and local health officials will be working with area hospitals to complete chart reviews of patients who were sickened by the synthetic marijuana. CDC is sending a team of four, including a toxicologist and epidemiologist, to assist in the investigation. All investigatory records, including medical records, are confidential under state law and will remain so in this investigation.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment routinely works with local public health agencies to investigate disease or illness outbreaks from communicable diseases and food borne illnesses. As with those investigations, the purpose of this investigation is to identify the cause of the illness so the public can be warned to avoid exposure.
Synthetic marijuana is marketed under many names including Black Mamba, Monkey Spice, K2, Twilight, Spice and Herbal Incense. No single product has been identified as the source for these reported illnesses.