Severe bleeding linked to use of fake weed tainted with rat poison continues to hospitalize people in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin has had 15 cases of bleeding since March 2018–seven confirmed and eight probable.
Confirmed cases are in Outagamie County, Dane County and Milwaukee County, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Illinois has reported four deaths linked to the use of synthetic weed. It is sometimes sold in convenience stores, gas stations, and head shops. Fake weed also goes by the names K2, Spice and Kush.
“We are very concerned about this,” says Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. “This is something consumers can walk into a store that might be selling this stuff and it appears harmless to them.”
It comes as dried materials or liquids to be used with vaping devices.
“It has landed people in hospital emergency departments where they have passed out. We have people that have had serious, long-term brain damage. We’ve had people with physical defects as a result of using these things,” Schimel said.
Cases have multiplied in the past 20 days.
“Since June 1, we’ve had 10 cases reported here in Wisconsin, which is a significant uptick in the numbers that we’re seeing,” says Dr. Jonathan Meiman, Chief Medical Officer, DHS.
Wisconsin law bans the sale of synthetic cannabinoids. The Wisconsin Department of Justice says fake weed is often mislabeled as “herbal incense” or “potpourri” and that manufacturers are often changing the chemical formula to get around controlled substance laws.
“We utilized the consumer protection laws in Wisconsin to go after the retailers that were selling these things,” Meiman says. “They’re facing very large fines for what they did and I hope that other retailers will see this.”
However, you can find the products online. Meiman warns users that they have no idea that it could end in a death sentence.
“Looks like a number of them have been contaminated with this rat poison and it could cause potentially fatal bleeding,” Meiman says. “And it has caused four deaths in Illinois.”
By: ABC 9 News