Potent New Brand Of Synthetic Marijuana Linked To 120 NYC Hospitalizations In One Week

(pimento of doom)

(pimento of doom)

Lest you think health officials have been overreacting to the dangers of synthetic marijuana, a recent spate of hospitalizations may change your mind: In New York City area, one particular new brand of potent synthetic cannabis has sent 120 people to the hospitals in the last week.

That’s just one brand, only in NYC. The hospitalizations happened during the week of April 8, according to DNAInfo.com, citing a report from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. That’s compared to two to three synthetic marijuana-related hospitalizations per week between January and March of 2015, on average.

Apparent victims of “Mr. Big Shot” were all men, mostly over the age of 25, who suffered from a wide array of health problems requiring a hospital trip: They experienced seizures, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, vomiting, nausea and hallucinations after smoking the chemical substance that is often disguised and sold as incense.

“’Mr. Big Shot was too strong,” one man who lives near an area where synthetic marijuana is often found told DNAInfo. “It made people jittery, I saw them throw up and pass out. Since April they’ve stopped selling it.”

Though some bodegas and smokes shops have removed Mr. Big Shot from their shelves, there are other brands of synthetic marijuana out there. The drug is gaining popularity because while it has the effect of a strong marijuana, it doesn’t show up on drug screens.

“It’s very cheap, you can buy a bag from anywhere between $2 and $5,” Diana Ayala, deputy chief of staff for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told DNAInfo. “It doesn’t come up on drug tests. So if you are on parole, if you have an ACS case, this is the ideal drug because nobody is going to be able to test for it.”

It’s especially dangerous because the ingredients are constantly changing, as manufacturers adjust to authorities outlawing the chemicals used to make the drug: In 2012, the State’s Health Department banned the sale and possession of dozens of chemicals used to create the synthetic drug.

“The tough thing is that the ingredients are constantly changing,” said Ricky Wong, the Health Department’s Director of Community Affairs. “Distributors are adapting to the environment as far as a legal perspective.”

‘Mr. Big Shot’ Linked to 120 Synthetic Marijuana Hospitalizations in a Week [DNAInfo.com]