GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Law enforcement officials in West Michigan say the area hasn’t yet seen the sometimes deadly consequences from drugs dubbed “synthetic marijuana.”
The product in question is sold under names like K2 and Spice. Health officials in the Chicago area say they’ve seen a recent rash of illnesses related to the drugs. In at least two cases, patients have died. In other cases, patients were taken in to be treated for sudden bleeding from the eyes, nose, gums and other places.
Dr. Allison Arwady, the chief medical officer of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said officials suspect some of the “synthetic marijuana” on the streets has been laced with brodifacoum, the active ingredient in many rat poisons. That chemical causes the body to bleed.
Kent County Health Department officials say they have received notice of what’s happening in Chicago, but a spokesperson said there was no known impact in the greater Grand Rapids area.
After speaking with officials from the West Michigan Enforcement Team, a multijurisdictional group tasked with fighting drug crimes, Kent County Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young said there were no known instances of people being sickened from synthetic marijuana-type drugs recently.
“It does concern me,” LaJoye-Young told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday. “The fact is they’re playing around with these compounds every single time they produce it … Even if you got it from that same person the last time you used the drug (and) it seemed to have no effect on you, the next time you get the drug from that same person it could be a completely different drug.”
Michigan outlawed dangerous synthetic drugs in 2012. Illinois also has legislation against the drugs, though they still seem to be making it to the streets for sale.