BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – University at Buffalo Police say eight students were taken to the hospital over the weekend after having difficulty breathing and complaining of dizziness, nausea and disorientation.
Police believe the students were smoking marijuana mixed with synthetic pot.
News 4 found that many college students do not consider it harmful. A recent poll found 88 percent of NYers approve legalizing it for medical use, and 57 percent also approve legalizing it for recreational use.
“I’ve never heard of any hospitalizations or medical issues that send people to the hospital about marijuana,” sophomore Kelsey Napolitano said.
“I’ve also never heard of anyone going to the hospital because of marijuana,” junior Suzanna Rehner said.
But UB Police are warning of a danger students might not suspect. Police believe the marijuana eight students smoked was laced with synthetic marijuana, often known as Spice or K2.
Andrea Wanat, executive director of the Erie County Council on Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, says lacing marijuana with other drugs isn’t new. And the effects can be unpredictable.
“The same thing can be said when you’re mixing any drugs. The combination, you never quite know what could happen,” Wanat said.
UB police didn’t specify whether the students mixed the drugs themselves or bought it that way. They say the effects of synthetic marijuana, which is banned in New York, include agitation and hallucinations.
Many UB students who spoke with News 4 say they’re not aware of those effects.
“I didn’t even know you could go to the hospital from using it, to be honest. Not many people know much more information about the drug than the feeling it gives you,” student Adam Friedman said.
But they aren’t surprised.
“People frown upon synthetic pot. I don’t really know many people who go around and buy that kind of stuff.”
“Obviously because it’s created in a laboratory rather than being grown in soil,” junior Hannah Krueger said.
The students who spoke with News 4 said they think use of synthetic marijuana has really dropped since it was pulled off store shelves. They say regular pot is by far the most widely-used drug among students.
Those students who were hospitalized were released the next morning.