Dozens of Cases of Severe Bleeding in Illinois Linked to Synthetic Pot

The first known death in an outbreak of severe bleeding among users of synthetic marijuana in Illinois was reported on the weekend by state health officials.

No information about the patient's name, age or gender, or the county where the death occurred, had been provided as of Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

As of Saturday, at least 38 people in the Chicago area and central Illinois had been hospitalized for severe bleeding after using synthetic marijuana. Three of those hospitalized tested positive for rat poison (brodifacoum).

The health department said the patients' symptoms included blood in the urine, severe bloody noses, bleeding gums, coughing up blood, bleeding from the eyes and ears, and heavier menstrual bleeding, the Tribune reported.

Synthetic cannabinoid -- often called Spice or K2 -- is a mixture of hundreds of chemicals that can come as a spray to coat plant material for smoking or as a liquid to be used in e-cigarettes or other devices, according to the health department.

It did not specify if any of the hospitalized patients were children or teens, but sent a memo about the outbreak to state school administrators and school nurses, the Tribune reported.

The Cook County sheriff's office is working with state officials to identify the source of the synthetic marijuana associated with the outbreak, said spokeswoman Cara Smith.

"If you use synthetic drugs, you're playing Russian roulette with your life," Smith said. "It's that serious."

Health officials advised that if someone suffers a reaction to synthetic marijuana, call 911 immediately or get the person to a hospital for immediate treatment, the Tribune reported.

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