Dangerous Drugs: Why Synthetic-Cannabinoid Overdoses Are On the Rise

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Overdoses from synthetic cannabinoids are on the rise, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Synthetic cannabinoids, sometimes called K2 or spice, were first found in the U.S. by authorities in 2008, according to the CDC. Since 2010, the number of overdoses from these compounds has increased each year, according to the new report, published today (July 14).

The researchers included 101 U.S. hospitals and clinics in the analysis. Between 2010 and 2015, a total of 456 synthetic-cannabinoid overdoses were recorded at these sites, according to the report. The largest increase in overdoses over the study period was in New York City, according to the report. (Indeed, a mass of overdose cases from these drugs was reported this week, on July 12 in Brooklyn, New York.) [3 Dangerous New Drug Habits in Teens]

The overdoses from synthetic cannabinoids make up a small percentage of all drug overdoses and other poisonings in the U.S., the CDC said. However, this percentage increased each year of the study period.

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