Illegal Synthetic Marijuana Sends Multiple People to Hospital

Public Service Announcement / Illegal Synthetic Marijuana Sends Multiple People to Hospital

York City, PA – The York County District Attorney’s Office in conjunction with Springettsbury Police Department are issuing this Public Service Announcement in an effort to warn the public of a recent increase in the use of a synthetic cannabinoid that has sent multiple individuals to the hospital. The dangerous drug, identified by street names, such as “spice” and “K2” is abused mainly by teens and young adults and is known to be marked as incense, herbal mixtures or potpourri in order to mask its true purpose. These dangerous drugs are in most cases smoked by the user.

Three individuals were hospitalized yesterday morning as a result of their use of synthetic cannabinoids.  The quick actions taken by the Springettsbury Township Police Department and the York County Drug Task Force resulted in the arrest of Kim Bobbitt, 47, of the 100 block of S. Pine St. in the City of York and Mark Anthony Wood,47, of the 700 block of E. Philadelphia St. in the City of York, both were directly responsible for the synthetic cannabinoids sold in the City of York to these individuals who reside in Springettsbury Township.  48 individually packaged bags were seized and later tested positive for the presence of synthetic cannabinoids.  Bobbitt has been charged with Possession with Intent to deliver, while Wood was charged with Criminal Attempt Delivery.  “I would like to thank Springettsbury Township Detectives, York County Drug Task Force and the York County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance and quick resolution to this case.  We were able to get 48 packs of dangerous synthetic drugs off the street before it sent anyone else to the hospital.  Unfortunately, we do not know how many other packets have been sold and are amongst our community.  I would highly encourage all parents to speak with their kids about the dangers of synthetic drugs.  A short conversation today could keep your child alive tomorrow,” Chief Dan Stump.

The manufacturing of synthetic cannabinoids includes the spraying of a liquid chemical solution onto plant material. As the solution dries, it leaves only the chemical, such as JWH-018, a painkiller; XLR-11, a cancer treatment drug; or JWH-18, used in fertilizers. The chemicals vary widely and many of them have not been tested on humans or animals.

Using these drugs is akin to playing Russian Roulette. Typically, there is no consistency in chemical strength from batch to batch. This is due to the fact that there are no quality controls in the manufacturing process of the chemical compounds which are applied to the vegetable material.  Even though one bag may be relatively weak, the next bag could send someone to the emergency room. Spice abusers who have been taken to Poison Control Centers report symptoms that include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, confusion, and hallucinations. These effects can be similar to those of phencyclidine, or PCP.

Since the exact compounds contained in synthetic cannabinoid products change so frequently, it’s impossible for users to know exactly what chemicals they are putting into their body and should avoid these dangerous drugs at all costs.  Should you come in contact with any form of synthetic cannabinoid, you are encouraged to call 911.