UMC EMS says Synthetic Marijuana Overdoses Dangerous for First Responders

A training chief with UMC EMS says synthetic marijuana overdoses are becoming dangerous for those first responders who show up to help.
By Monica Yantosh

LUBBOCK, TX -- A training chief with University Medical Center EMS said synthetic marijuana overdoses are becoming dangerous for those first responders who show up to help.

Chad Curry with UMC EMS said their emergency rooms see about five overdoses on synthetic marijuana a day, and now it's becoming a problem where they are looking at ways to not only keep the patients safe, but those responding as well.

"A lot of times with the herbs and with the synthetic marijuana, we're having a lot of issues with patients becoming violent, non-cooperative," Curry said.

He said the packages of it do say it is not meant for human consumption.

"We definitely don't want to hurt anybody, but at the same time we have to protect our staff, and those guys have to protect themselves," Curry said.

Now, they are looking at the possibility of using sedatives or self-defense as a few ways to keep those first responders safe.

"That's the main thing, we want to keep the patients from hurting themselves, or getting hurt, and then we want to protect the rescuers that are there," Curry said.

Synthetic marijuana is not the only newer drug they are seeing. They are also seeing a few cases of krocodile, or krocodil.

"They shoot it into their arms or whatever body part they so choose and it's actually causing necrosis and its causing to eat the flesh," Curry said. He did add they have only seen a few cases so far.

Curry also said a problem is when drugs of any kind are mixed, as they can all create different reactions.

"When we're mixing these, there's a lot of different outcomes that can be, because each drug is gonna do it's own thing or each herb will do it's own side effect," Curry said.

They are learning, he said, from other EMS departments in other cities about ways they can try to control and work with patients who have an overdose.

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