‘Fake’ form of marijuana linked to Illinois deaths, makes its way into Missouri

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO - A fake form of weed moving across the country has found its way into Missouri.

The drug has already killed three people in Illinois while affecting more than 100.

Even though health officials have identified a case related to synthetic marijuana in Missouri, for privacy reasons they did not confirm the exact location.

“It is illegal,” said Dr. Frederick Echols with the St. Louis County Department of Health. “The issue that we are experiencing now is that it’s been laced with chemicals that are typically used for rat poisoning.”

It’s not a new drug, but health officials said that it continues to sneak back with a different formulation.

The drug recently claimed three lives in Illinois and has now found its way into Missouri where a case has been identified.

“We are at risk for the product coming over into the state (Missouri) because there’s no real or certain identity of the products,” said Julie Weber, Director of the Missouri Poison Center at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon. “They may have some brand names but nobody knows which synthetic marijuana or cannabinoid they have put this rat poisoning or rodenticide on.”

Health experts went on to say that people are inhaling the drug which look likes potpourri or a leafy substance that can lead to bleeding and death.

The drug goes by different names including K-2, Spice or Legal Weed.

Though no one died, K-2 was linked to several overdoses in downtown St. Louis back in November 2016.

“It takes a while for the government to kind of keep up with making them illegal,” Weber continued, “so they alter the structure a little bit and they kind of fall in the cracks of making it legal and nobody knows what they are making it with or spraying it with and that’s where the risks come in.”

Weber said that while the drug is illegal, it can be easily accessible.

“Sometimes, it’s just the convenience stores that they are selling it in or sometimes just getting it from friends, but a lot of times you can access it off of the internet,” she explained.

The poison center is asking anyone to report cases by calling 1-800-222-1222 or visit their website for more information.