The US has witnessed a significant rise in deaths, hospital visits to emergency rooms and number of patients seeking help from poison control centers linked to a dangerous and more potent variation of a well-known drug ‘spice’.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, the state poison control centers reported nearly 1,000 cases of adverse reactions to spice in just first three weeks of April. The figures were more than double the total cases reported in January through March.
Spice is the street name for a synthetic substances’ family mimicking the effects of weeds or marijuana.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers further said that the cases involved from consuming only spice or in combination with other similar substances were four times as often in 2015 than the previous year.
As many as 172 cases were reported on Thursday alone.
Observing the rising incidences of emergency visits, the health departments in Mississippi, Alabama and New York have issued precautionary alerts in April about more spice users being rushed to the hospitals over complaints of extreme anxiety, delusions and violent behavior, with some of the cases turning fatal. The cases linked to the popular drug have also been reported in states of Florida, Arizona, Texas and New Jersey.
According to the health officials, the total number of deaths across the country this year is not available.
The health experts said that they were unsure whether the rise in spice-related emergency admission in the hospitals this month is due to the increased use of the drug or a specially dangerous formulation.
In order to tackle the menace, the law enforcement agencies- including the Drug Enforcement Administration and local police departments- are working rigorously on controlling the flow of synthetic cannabinoids.