Two dead, 56 sickened from synthetic pot



April 2, 2018 - 11:00 PM

CHICAGO (TNS) — Two people have died and 56 have been sickened in the Chicago area and central Illinois after using synthetic pot, popularly known as K2 and Spice, state officials said Monday.

Over the weekend, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that one person had died after using synthetic cannabinoid products, but on Monday the state agency announced that a second person had perished. Nearly half of those sickened were in the Peoria area and more than 20 were in the Chicago area. Generally, those who became ill after using the drug were hospitalized for internal bleeding as well as blood coming from the ears, eyes and mouth.

The names of the two who died have not been made public, but state public health officials said the deaths took place in the Chicago area and in central Illinois, according to a news release.

In Peoria County, the county coroner was investigating the death of a 22-year-man who was being counted by the Illinois Department of Public Health as one of the fatalities in the outbreak. However, the cause and manner of the man’s death were pending toxicology results, said Jamie Harwood, the Peoria County coroner. Those tests could take 20 to 30 days to complete.

The man had reportedly used K2 before he was hospitalized for severe internal bleeding, Harwood said. He was pronounced dead at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, according to the coroner’s office.

Just west of Chicago, Kane County was investigating a death that could be linked to the outbreak, according to officials from the coroner’s office. Additional information about the death was not immediately available.

The reports of the deaths come as the state continues to see an up-tick in the number of people hospitalized for severe bleeding after using synthetic cannabinoid products. In total, 56 people have been hospitalized in Illinois since March 10, according to the health department.

Of that total, 17 people have been hospitalized in Chicago and five others in Cook County, according to the health department.