Two dead and 40 in hospital after smoking synthetic marijuana in Florida

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Two dead and 40 in hospital after smoking synthetic marijuana in Florida
Legal order synthetic smoke, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Two people are dead and 40 more are in hospital after smoking synthetic marijuana, also known as spice or K2, in Florida.

At least two people have died and 40 have had to be hospitalised in Hillsborough County, on the west coast of Florida, after smoking synthetic marijuana, also known as spice or K2. The drug may have been contaminated with some type of poison, reported the authorities on Thursday, December 16.

The Poison Control Centre in Florida indicated that the victims had experienced spontaneous nosebleeds, bruising and body aches after using the drug.

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“We are treating various patients who have severe hemorrhaging after recently using a synthetic cannabinoid. If you or anyone you know bleeds after consuming “spice” or marijuana, call us or head to the nearest emergency room,” the entity warned on social media.

Mia Rivera, the sister of Hector Rivera, one of those who died, said that her 28-year-old brother was fun and energetic and that the family was devastated by the loss. She added that her brother, who worked in construction, was hospitalised last week unaware that he had consumed poison when he had smoked synthetic marijuana.

After being treated and released from the hospital, Rivera smoked “spice” again and his sister found him unconscious at their house. Despite being taken to the emergency room, there was nothing the doctors could do to save his life and he died last Sunday.


The authorities have warned that the synthetic drug is not safe and must be avoided. Synthetic cannabinoids are not a single drug, but a mixture of hundreds of chemical products that act on the brain receptors, in the same way that marijuana does.

The dangerous artificial substance is illegal but is sold on the streets or in convenience stores as a liquid to be inhaled in electronic cigarettes or as incense.

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