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BHS student linked to overdose of synthetic marijuana

A 17-year-old male student at Brainerd High School was hospitalized Thursday after he allegedly overdosed on synthetic marijuana, Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston said Friday.

McQuiston said officers were called to the school at 3 p.m. When they arrived the student was being treated by paramedics and then transported by ambulance to Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center where he was in intensive care.

McQuiston said officers are investigating on how the student got the drug.

“It’s unfortunate. This is a seriously growing problem in the country right now as governmental agencies try to ban the sales of these types of products,” said McQuiston. “The chemical makeup in these products is very unsafe and, hopefully, after people see what happened to this student, they’ll realize how dangerous these substances are.

“We’ve read that after kids have one or two hits they feel the effects rapidly and are often times followed by serious side effects. There are reports of temporary partial paralysis, major headache like symptons and vomiting.”

McQuiston said he couldn’t say if synthetic marijuana is a growing problem with the younger generation. However, he did say it is with the general population.

A Minnesota Senate panel has advanced an effort to ban synthetic marijuana and other similar drugs. The Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee voted Thursday to consider the measure as part of a broader drug policy bill.

Under the bill, possession of synthetic marijuana and other substances would be a misdemeanor. The sale of such products would also be illegal. 

The Minnesota House passed a similar stand-alone bill earlier this session. The House also added the language to a Health and Human Services budget bill earlier this week.

Synthetic marijuana is a mixture of herbs and spices that is sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, The Associated Press reported this week.