Local hospitals see increase in patients exposed to synthetic ma - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Local hospitals see increase in patients exposed to synthetic marijuana

Synthetic marijuana. (Source: Erika Ferrando/KPLC) Synthetic marijuana. (Source: Erika Ferrando/KPLC)

Lake Area hospitals have seen an influx of cases of synthetic marijuana. They say it's mostly adolescents who think the drug is safe.

When the drugs first showed up on store shelves, they were legal, but after a rash of overdoses, Louisiana outlawed them. The fact the drugs were once legal has many thinking synthetic marijuana is safe.

"You don't know what they're putting into these drugs. I can tell you the synthetic, what they're made out of is just all different types of chemicals and its horrible and its doing horrible things to our young people, said Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso. He goes on to say,"Its bad and yes were having a very bad problem with it and I think we have a problem with it because the perception is its legal, and its not."

The drug is a mix of chemicals, and when you buy it you never know what's in it.

Jon Gray, M.D. of Lake Charles Memorial hospital said, "it's pretty serious. We see all kinds of bizarre, psychotic reactions. Lung cardiac issues as well."

Mancuso blames the black market and says some users go to Texas where possessing the drug is only a misdemeanor.

Mancuso has seen the negative effects from the drugs and said, "I'm against any legalization of any drug. I'm against abusing legal drugs or illegal drugs, but with that said, parents I'm going to tell you, you need to have a sit down with your children and tell them look, if you just absolutely cannot stand it and you have to try something, you're better off trying regular marijuana than you are this stuff, its dangerous."

Copyright 2014 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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