MILWAUKEE -- Synthetic marijuana laced with rat poison has prompted a dire warning from the Milwaukee Health Department and local doctors.
The department says there are currently 27 confirmed or probable cases of severe bleeding linked to the tainted synthetic marijuana or "K-2."
Dr. Julie Doniere of Ascension Healthcare says she saw four cases of bleeding likely linked to K-2 while working the weekend shift in the Emergency Room at Ascension St. Joesph's Hospital in Milwaukee.
"It's the first time in 22 years as a physician that I’ve called the health department on the weekend because I was just alarmed at the number of patients I was seeing and it was life-threatening," said Doniere.
Angie Hagy with the Milwaukee Health Department says K-2 "is not a legal alternative to marijuana, it is not a safe alternative to marijuana."
The department says the synthetic laced with rat poison causes severe bleeding, unexplained bruising and even death.
Doniere says the chemicals can stay in your blood for 2-3 months and that treating the problems related to it could take just as long. All of the 27 cases in Milwaukee involved hospitalizations according to the health department.
If you have any of the K-2 you should throw it away according to the health department. Doctors also ask if you have taken K-2 and are suffering any complications to tell your healthcare provider.
Doniere says several patients withheld the information from her over the weekend out of fear of repercussions.
Over the weekend the Kenosha Sheriff's Office also put out a warning about the drug. The Wisconsin State Department of Health says 4 deaths have been reported in Illinois linked to the tainted synthetic.