Illnesses from synthetic drugs surge again

The concern over synthetic cannabinoids continues in Illinois and Indiana.

Posted: May 14, 2018 7:59 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The concern over synthetic cannabinoids continues in Illinois and Indiana. The drugs are commonly known as "spice," "K2," and "fake weed."

The drugs don't have ties to real marijuana, and that's honestly what's making them so dangerous. Officials say they're a synthetic cocktail of dangerous chemicals.

In April, officials say four people died in Illinois from spice laced with rat poison. Medical professionals say rat poison can cause severe bleeding, as well as death.

Then, just this weekend, at least nine people in Indianapolis, possibly more, were treated after police say they overdosed by smoking or ingesting spice.

The Illinois Senate passed a measure last week to ban all types of synthetic cannabinoids instead of just certain formulas.

Illinois has passed several laws to ban synthetic marijuana. But, manufacturers often change the formula to get around the rules.

That bill now heads to the house.

News 10's Lacey Clifton spoke with Shannon Gillie, who's in the recovery process.

Gillie spoke about a day in December 2016 that changed her life.

She recalls, "I remember getting a glass of tea out of the refrigerator and that was it. I woke up in Union Hospital on the fourth floor. That’s when I found out I had OD’d. They said I had OD'd on some K2 which is synthetic marijuana, spice."

Shannon Gillie's daughter came home with cigarettes that day. What Gillie didn't know is they contained k2.

She says, "I tested positive for synthetic heroin, embalming fluid, and rat poisoning."

This would be a major turning point for Gillie. Her teen daughter OD'd too, and ended up in the intensive care unit. She was taken from Gillie’s custody.

Gillie shares, "I am not the mother I thought I was, I was just being a friend to her and that's where we all belong. We all need to take responsibility."

After seeing what it's done to her daughter, and friends around her, she's working to call it quits for good.

Gillie says, "I hope it goes away and goes away soon. Because it's taken so many of my friends away and it's taking more and more."

That's why Gillie wanted to share her story, so others don't get caught up in the drug.

She warns, "That hit may take your life. That may be your last hit you ever take. You may not think that, because you don't feel that, you don't think that at the time. But it is that way. And we all hate to admit that."

Gillie says after using K2 she now suffers from seizures and memory problems. While addiction to it is something Gillie fights daily, she shares there is hope, and there is help.

Gillie shares, "It took me going to jail to realize that I can get off of K2. I can ask for help, and they're not going to arrest me for asking for it."

Gillie says she is getting clean for her, and her daughter. She shares she wouldn’t be where she is today without her probation officer, judge, and Club Soda.

For those struggling with addiction, there is help available. You can call 1-877-794-0810.

Operators at that number can connect you with addiction help services no matter your zip code.

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