The Perils of Artificially Engineered Drugs: A Study Of The NYC ‘Zombie’ Event

Key Takeaways:

  • The artificial narcotic dubbed ‘AK-47 24 Karat Gold’ is 85 times more potent than THC, the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, according to laboratory analysis.
  • Synthetic marijuana is significantly more dangerous than plant-derived marijuana due to it being unregulated, transitory in its chemical composition, not standardized, having unknown potency and very little quality control measures.
  • Users of synthetic drugs can experience several health risks such as seizures, elevated blood pressure, kidney damage, swift heart rate, vomiting, confusion, paranoia, severe anxiety, hallucinations, aggressive behavior and suicidal thoughts.
  • Synthetic drugs have gained some popularity due to it’s different effects and cheaper price relative to real marijuana. Furthermore, it’s less likely to be detected in drug screening tests.
  • The victims of the ‘zombie’ event in New York City varied in age, and some of them were homeless. Treatments primarily included respiratory assistance and cardiac monitoring.

The incident of an artificial narcotic triggering a ‘zombie’ episode that emerged in a New York City district during the summer of yesteryears was proven to be highly potent compared to the actual marijuana as per observations conducted by investigators.

Dangers Evident at the Brooklyn Event

In a gathering that took place in Brooklyn, thirty-three individuals became heavily incapacitated and functionally static after consuming this imitation drug. A significant portion, eighteen to be specific, required immediate medical attention in hospitals.

A closer investigation of the victims’ blood and urine samples confirmed the presence of a manufactured product named AK-47 24 Karat Gold. Further exploration conducted in labs indicated that this product was almost 85 times more potent than THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive compound present in authentic marijuana as per the notes of the researchers.

The Enigma of Synthetic Marijuana

Roy Gerona, who spearheaded the recent analysis, emphasized that the counterfeit pot is extremely potent and possesses no correlation whatsoever to real, plant-derived marijuana.

According to Gerona, “What we’re discussing involves thousands of different synthetic drugs, that since 2008 were synthesized for their mind-altering effects in clandestine labs scattered across China.” These were initially explored by scientists due to their potential analgesic effects, before being discarded due to reasons of inefficiency or safety risks.

Understanding The Dangers

In the eyes of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), while these synthetic cannabinoids are considered to have some connections to compounds found in naturally harvested marijuana plants, the fact remains that they are entirely lab creations. Commonly, they are sprayed on plant matter for smoking or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled.

The NIDA categorically mentions that they are unsafe. Paul Armentano, the deputy director of a marijuana legalization advocacy group, NORML, also substantiated this point.

Armentano highlighted the hazardous nature of these substances saying, “Their danger lies in the fact that they are unregulated, they contain nascent components, their potency is unknown, they are not standardized, and there are no quality control measures.”

Besides, he added, “We hardly know what these products contain from one batch to another, given that the chemical compounds appear to undergo constant changes”.

Life-Threatening Health Risks

Users of these substances face a lethal amalgamation of seizures, elevated blood pressure, kidney damage, swift heart rate, regurgitation, confusion and paranoia, as per explanations provided by NIDA. Furthermore, these products can also induce severe anxiety, hallucinations, aggressive behavior as well as suicidal thoughts.

Individuals Impacted

The victims of the event taken to the hospital for emergency treatment ranged between ages 25 to 59. Eight of these were homeless. Treatments primarily included respiratory assistance and cardiac monitoring.

The popularity of such synthetics extends to regions where marijuana use is legalized, primarily due to the different “high” experienced and its economical price as opposed to real marijuana.

Escaping Drug Detection

As per Gerona and Armentano, another reason contributing to their popularity is the lesser likelihood of detection in drug-screening tests as compared to Marijuana.

“In case you are a part of the military, or if your work demands regular drug screening, a large majority of these compounds go undetected,” elaborated Gerona.

While his lab strives to keep pace, many drugs have yet to be assessed for their overall toxic impact. Mused Gerona, “A good number are much more potent than real marijuana, and frequently result in the users ending up in the emergency room.”

Additional Information

To acquire more knowledge on synthetic cannabinoids, visit the website of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *