Eight teens hospitalized after using illegal synthetic cannabis
Eight Israeli teenagers were hospitalized overnight from Friday to Saturday after consuming an illegal synthetic cannabis substance, Israel’s health ministry said on Saturday. One of the children was in serious condition.
All of the teens had internal bleeding, which suggests the substance was associated with a toxic substance, possibly rat poison, the ministry said, adding that it was issuing an urgent warning against the drug, commonly known as “Mr. Nice guy.”
The ministry warned that the drug “can lead to death” and is “particularly dangerous because it is mixed with different substances, including [other] drugs, poisonous substances and pesticides, which change from distributor to distributor.
A 31-year-old Haifa resident died on Monday after consuming the synthetic cannabinoid. He was taken to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa last weekend with others who took the drug cocktail, where he was later pronounced dead.
The hospital said he was suffering from a major brain hemorrhage.
Last weekend, 12 teenagers were hospitalized in medical centers in the north of the country after taking the drug. Reports at the time suggested that the synthetic cannabinoid that once dominated the streets of Tel Aviv was believed to have been taken with blood thinners designed to move the drug through the body faster.
The adolescents were all admitted with dizziness, vomiting and hallucinations, all known side effects of the drug.
Police and the health ministry have launched a joint investigation and have so far arrested three men in the Haifa area on suspicion of distributing drugs.
A 27-year-old man from Kiryat Motzkin and a 31-year-old man from Haifa were arrested on Sunday on suspicion of drug distribution. On Monday, a 23-year-old from Tirat Carmel was arrested, with the drugs allegedly found on him.
After the death of the 31-year-old man, the men are now suspected of manslaughter.
In 2011, “Mr. Nice Guy” and other synthetic cannaboids, which have become increasingly popular in Israel, were banned. They had been previously approved by the Knesset’s Committee on Health and Welfare.