July 2016

On July 14, 2016, New York City health officials issued an advisory about an increase in adverse events and emergency department visits related to synthetic cannabinoids (K2/Spice). From July 11 through July 13, 130  people were taken to emergency rooms after suspected ingestion of these drugs, which are sold under many street names including Geeked Up, Smacked, Scooby Snax, Green Giant, Red Giant, M. Bad Guy, Trippy, Ice Dragon, AK-47, and Kick. Synthetic cannabinoids, sometimes called "fake weed" or "herbal incense," are chemically related to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, but they may be much more powerful. Their effects can be unpredictable and have caused death in some cases. In recent cases in New York City, some users' overdoses resemble opioid overdoses, including lethargy and suppression of breathing; in other cases they have exhibited agitated and violent behavior. The increase in emergency room admissions might indicate that the K2/Spice products circulating in the New York City area might be laced with other toxic chemicals.  View Advisory (PDF, 61KB)

For more information on synthetic cannabinoids, see DrugFacts: K2/Spice ("Synthetic Marijuana")