PEORIA — A 46-year-old Tazewell County man has died of suspected synthetic cannabis use, Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said Monday.
Three deaths have been reported in the state from synthetic cannabis use, including a 22-year-old Peoria man who died March 29. Harwood has said his death is still being investigated. The third death was reported Monday afternoon by the Illinois Department of Public Health. A department spokeswoman said only that the victim was from central Illinois.
In a news release Monday night, however, Harwood said he was "notified of a death related to suspected K2/Spice use." The victim was a 46-year-old Tazewell County man who was pronounced dead at 10:25 a.m. Monday at a Peoria hospital.
His name and other details are being withheld at this time, Harwood said. An autopsy and toxicology testing are scheduled for Tuesday, although results probably won't be available for up to three weeks, he added.
The IDPH has said the synthetic cannabis products are sold illegally under a variety of different names, including Spice and K2. The products are tainted with what appears to be rat poison, an anti-coagulant, and can cause severe bleeding.
Harwood emphasized in his news release that "K2/Spice is a very dangerous drug, and anyone in possession of any of these are encouraged to turn them into authorities, or discard them. Do not risk use of the drugs. If you are experiencing an onset of severe headaches, coughing up blood, or blood in your urine, and you have used K2/Spice, please seek emergency treatment immediately."
Over the weekend 12 more cases of uncontrolled bleeding from the drug were reported in Illinois, which now has 107 cases, according to the IDPH's website.
Those 12 cases included 10 in Peoria and Tazewell counties. Peoria County now has 29 reported cases, and Tazewell County has 32.