First responders say they’ve seen reports of synthetic drug cases quadruple.
There have been four more hospitalizations in the last two days in Peoria County, five more in Tazewell County.
When people hear about synthetic cannabinoids, also known as K2, spice and fake weed, you first think that the majority is happening in Chicago.
“We encountered three of those yesterday morning,” says Josh Bradshaw, AMT. “So to put that in frame of reference, we’d seen about that number each month of January and February.”
This seemingly pop-up epidemic has landed in Central Illinois in large capacity.
“The effects seem to be relatively rapid,” says Dr. Gary Knepp, Unity Point Health. “One to two days and then symptoms develop. Once it’s in your body, its extremely difficult to get out of their body.”
First responders, like Josh Bradshaw, see effects from the synthetic material first hand.
“People are getting very sick from it,” says Bradshaw. “It’s just ramping up at this point so it’s very concerning to us from a health care and a community care standpoint.”
Since March 7th, 89 cases have plagued central Illinois including a handful of deaths and that number is expected to rise.
“We were going to start to see it trail off, but unfortunately that’s not happening,” says Dr. Knepp. “The numbers continue to come in everyday.”
“From February til March, we saw the number of times we had encountered people taking these drugs quadruple,” says Bradshaw. “That was heavily skewed towards the end of the month. It really makes us concerned for what April is going to bring.”
Health officials say components of this drug take months to leave your system with the right medications.
If these users don’t complete the regiment, their bodies fall back to severe bleeding instantly.