The state health department reports 2 people have died linked to synthetic marijuana use. One is a 22-year-old Peoria man and the other is in Chicago. State and local Public Health officials are not revealing the identities of the victims.
But Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood says the 22-year-old was admitted to a Peoria Hospital in critical condition with severe internal bleeding after the recent use of K-2. Harwood says despite aggressive treatment, he was pronounced brain dead Thursday morning.
The deaths are among the 56 people in Illinois to become ill in recent weeks after using K-2, Spice or some other form of synthetic marijuana. 26 of those cases are in Peoria and Tazewell Counties.
Officials say the people have all been hospitalized after coughing up blood, had blood in their urine or suffered from severe bloody noses or bleeding gums.
The health department is trying to determine where the 56 people obtained the products before they started bleeding profusely. Such substances are often found in convenience stores, gas stations, smoke and drug paraphernalia shops and online.
Peoria Health Officials are stressing not to take, smoke or give away K2 or Spice. But if someone has taken it and is bleeding or bruising, they say to call 911 or get to the Emergency Department.