Synthetic marijuana sent 11,000 to ER

Newly released report tracked emergency visits for 2010

Author: Lauren Sweeney, Special Projects Producer, lsweeney@clickorlando.com
Published On: Dec 11 2012 03:55:01 PM EST
K2

A recently released government report said synthetic cannabinoids sometimes known as "K2" or "spice" were responsible for 11,406 visits to emergency departments across the United States in 2010.

Synthetic cannabinoids sometimes are referred to as “synthetic marijuana” or “fake marijuana” because they are marketed with claims that their effects mimic those of marijuana.

The substances were legal in most states until a national ban was enacted in July, making them available in many retail convenience stores and online.

The study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, examined emergency department visits for individuals between the ages of 12 and 29.

The drug abuse reporting network, or DAWN, began seeing a noticeable number of synthetic cannabinoid visits in 2010 and issued a complete report on them last week.

DAWN found that the majority of the emergency visits were within this age group, and focused the report specifically around them.

Of the 12 to 29 year old who visited the ER having synthetic cannabinoids in their system, 78% were males.

Patients ages 21 to 24 accounted for more visits than any other age group in the range.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi voiced her concerns about the drugs reaching younger individuals.

Florida outlawed the drugs in March.