New York, USA- Issuing a ‘synthetic cannabinoid’ health alert in a statement, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the drugs had sent over 160 patients to the hospital over a one-week period.
Cuomo said that synthetic drugs were nothing but harmless and that the rash of severe health emergencies was direct proof.
All these sounded scary, and there is nothing like a drug-scare to get much media attention. As they say, reporters love hearing about a new intoxication trend or a scary drug.
Lately, synthetic drugs, which have been gaining much popularity for at least a decade, have been favorite targets of both the hysteria-loving media and public officials.
As a reaction to the governor’s statement, Daily News published, “Andrew Cuomo warns spike in synthetic marijuana use has hospitalized more than 160 people,” and joining the hysteria was CNN by calling the new trend ‘a rash of hospitalizations’ in the article “Rash of hospitalizations in New York state linked to synthetic marijuana.”
But those headlines, along with others, may have been overstated. Contrary to what the governor claimed to be severe health emergencies and hospitalizations, the NY Health Department stated ’emergency department visits.’ (A big difference, isn’t it?).
Based on an email sent by the city health department to the Village Voice, most of the patients were discharged, which simply means that they were not hospitalized. Adding to that, only a few of them were admitted. Therefore, those patients might have just been thinking that they were experiencing and needing medical emergencies, when they were not.
As people all know, side effects of synthetic cannabinoids include rapid heart rate and anxiety, among others, because time goes by really slow under the influence.
[And for that matter, the headlines could have been closer to reality, don’t you think?]
States across the country have started cracking down the sale of synthetic cannabinoids, which were originally created only for research purposes and not for human consumption. In NY, synthetic marijuana was outlawed, while the Drug Enforcement Agency added a couple of the ‘synthetic drugs’ active ingredients to its list of illegal or prohibited chemicals in 2011.