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Area EMS: Synthetic pot cases rise

Area EMS: Synthetic pot cases rise
Longview News-Journal
Monday, June 30, 2014 - 9:44am

Emergency medical providers around Longview say they have seen a sharp increase in cases involving synthetic marijuana.

“I suspect, based off of the interview with the crews and a determination of what they felt, we have seen an increase. Every crew that we have has said we have seen a massive increase,” said Longview Fire Department EMS Section Chief Hank Hester. “If you talk to any of our crews, they are going to tell you there has been a significant increase in (synthetic marijuana) responses.”

However, Hester said all the evidence is anecdotal, noting that cases involving drug use aren’t broken down by the individual drug.

“The reason I could not report (exact numbers involving synthetic marijuana) is simply because we can’t. We don’t have the tools,” he said.

Hester said it would take laboratory testing to determine which type of drug was associated with an EMS response. As such, the fire department only records the transport totals associated with drug intoxication, not singling out synthetic marijuana.

Longview’s EMS service has responded to 149 such calls this year, on pace to reach almost 300 calls by the end of the year.

Read more from the Longview News-Journal.

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