Synthetic Marijuana Patients in Lubbock ER's Increasing

One University Medical Center emergency room doctor says they have seen an increase in calls about synthetic marijuana patients, as well as three people have died as a result of the drugs.
By Monica Yantosh
myantosh@klbk13.tv

LUBBOCK, TX -- A University Medical Center emergency room physician said they have seen an increase in patients on synthetic marijuana.

Dr. Holly Haning said they see up to 10 patients a day on synthetic marijuana, and it's not easy to treat them.

"Oh my goodness, this is the worst thing I've seen in over 20 years," she said.

Not knowing what is inside the drugs people have taken makes it so hard for those ER professionals to know where to start or how to treat them.

"We don't know what's in it, so from a toxicology standpoint, it's an absolute nightmare, and it all varies from batch to batch, and the amount that people have put in their bodies, and what other drugs they have mixed with it," Dr. Haning said.

They've not only seen an increase in people coming in after taking the drugs, she said they have seen people die from the drugs.

"The side effects are all over the place, anywhere from mild nausea and vomiting," Dr. Haning said. "We've actually had three people die as a result of this, otherwise young healthy people."

"Just devastating, and it's just like a growing number everyday it seems like," Gary Leatherwood said.

Leatherwood is one of the WASP, Warriors Against Synthetic Pot, co-founders. For the last two months, they've held peaceful protests outside of smoke shops they say are still selling the drugs, and have also created a community to help someone, or someone's loved one, try and quit the drugs.

Leatherwood said they've seen a great response from the community.

"It means a lot to us, it means somebody's getting the message, and if these people that recognize us a lot of other people know our message is out there, and so we think it's working," Leatherwood said.

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