A report released on Tuesday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that a total of 11,406 people were sent to emergency room in 2010 because of synthetic pot. Seventy-five percent of these visits involved patients aged 12 to 29, of which seventy-eight percent were male.
“This report confirms that synthetic drugs cause substantial damage to public health and safety in America,” Kerlikowske, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director, said in a news release.
The DAWN Report examined emergency department visits involving synthetic marijuana in 2010 among patients aged 12 to 29. It found that majority, or about fifty-nine percent, of emergency room visits for 12 to 29-year olds involved no other substances except for synthetic marijuana. Furthermore, seventy-six percent did not receive follow-up care, which include hospital admission, transfer to another health care facility, or referral to a detoxification/treatment program.
Synthetic marijuana quickly became a popular drug for teenagers and college students because of their accessibility in convenience stores, headshops, and gasoline stations. The drug has been tied to a variety of reported symptoms including agitation, nausea, vomiting, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), elevated blood pressure, tremor, seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior, and non-responsiveness.
In the last few years since the emergence of synthetic marijuana in the U.S., police have reported increasing incidents of arrests involving use of the drug while doctors said more teenagers who had gotten sick because of synthetic marijuana were arriving in emergency room.
“Make no mistake – the use of synthetic cannabinoids can cause serious, lasting damage, particularly in young people. Parents have a responsibility to learn what these drugs can do and to educate their families about the negative impact they cause,” Kerlikowske added.