Leslie Renken Journal Star health/lifestyles reporter @leslierenken
PEORIA — Fifty-six cases of severe bleeding, including two deaths, have been reported as of Monday in Illinois by users of synthetic cannabis, and one death in Peoria is being investigated.
Almost half of the reported cases – 26 – are in Peoria and Tazewell Counties.
Of the 56 reported cases, nine have tested positive for brodifacoum, a lethal anticoagulant often used as a rodenticide, or rat poison, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said in a news release Monday that the death of a 22-year-old Peoria man could be related to synthetic cannabinoid use. The man, who was reported to have used the drug recently, was admitted to an area hospital in critical condition with severe internal bleeding. He was pronounced dead at 6:30 a.m. Thursday.
An autopsy was scheduled for Monday, and results and toxicology testing could take 20 to 30 days, Harwood said in the release.
“Until that time, we will not be able to confirm cause of death,” Harwood said.
All 56 cases have required hospitalization for symptoms such as coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose, and/or bleeding gums.
“We continue to see the number of cases rise,” said IDPH Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah. “IDPH is continuing to