The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals today issued an emergency rule banning the sale or use of eight additional synthetic cannabinoids, commonly marketed as synthetic marijuana, following reports from law enforcement officials of a high number of associated drug overdoses in recent weeks.
The Emergency Rule signed today adds the following synthetic cannabanoids to the list of Schedule I controlled substances:
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, synthetic cannabinoids, which were first reported in the United States in 2009, are both dangerous and addictive, with health risks including:
- Severe agitation, anxiety and paranoia;
- Fast, racing heartbeat and elevated blood pressure;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors;
- Intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes; and
- Suicidal and other harmful thoughts and/or actions.
DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert signed the Emergency Rule this morning, after consultation with the Louisiana Poison Control Center, State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry, Louisiana State Police and East Baton Rouge parish law enforcement officials.
Kliebert said, "This Emergency Rule immediately empowers law enforcement officials to remove these dangerous substances from commerce. We have heard of many instances of overdoses or health complications associated with these substances in recent weeks, necessitating immediate action to protect the health and safety of the public."
Guidry said, "Since 2009, the use of these substances has increased across the nation. While the law currently bans the sale and use of some synthetic cannabinoids, the manufacturers of these dangerous substances continue to produce new and untested chemicals that can have devastating health effects on users. We must continue to be vigilant and react quickly when new threats to health and safety arise."
House Bill 229 by Representative Sherman Q. Mack of Livingston proposes to formally add the same eight synthetic cannabinoids to Louisiana's list of Schedule I controlled substances, which prohibits their sale or use.
The bill was reported favorably out of the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice on Wednesday and now progresses to the full House of Representatives for approval.