KKTV 11 News | Colorado Springs, Pueblo | 11 For Health

Dozens Hospitalized For Synthetic Marijuana Users

By: KKTV
By: KKTV

The numbers are alarming: close to 100 people have been hospitalized in Colorado in the past two weeks after smoking synthetic marijuana.

Known by names like "Spice," "Blaze," "Black Mamba," officials say the herbal mixtures are designed to create experiences similar to pot. The plants are sprayed with chemicals, giving them extra toxicity, but according to doctors, it's the side effects that are particularly dangerous.

It's also alarmingly easy to get one's hands on--it's most often sold on the Internet.

One woman in Aurora says she was there as two of her friends had to be rushed to the hospital after reportedly using synthetic pot.

"A couple of friends of ours were in the back smoking some Spice...they both started seizing, they were throwing up," Loretta Rainey said.

Friday, health officials reported 75 people had been hospitalized and three may have died after using the drug. On Saturday, University of Colorado health officials reported 10 new cases.

"We are pretty concerned about what's causing this level of illness," Tista Gosh with the Colorado Department of Public Health said. "What we want people to know is they should not wait for the results of this investigation...they need to stop using this product immediately."

Rainey said her friends took the message lightly.

"I told them I saw it on the news...they watch the news but they tried it anyway. I was like, 'Don't do it,' but they did it anyway."

And now they're in the hospital.

The problem has become so widespread that federal health officials are coming to Colorado next week to investigate.


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