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Is AM 2201 the Next "Deadly" Drug?

A synthetic drug causes eight ODs in Charleston—and some strong reactions of another kind.

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AM 2201 comes in powdered form. Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman

08/20/12

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A new synthetic drug has been wreaking havoc in Charleston, West Virginia: within a two-day period last week, eight people in the city reportedly overdosed and were hospitalized, thanks to a substance known as AM 2201. Originally thought to be a form of crack cocaine, AM 2201 is actually a synthetic cannabinoid that's been used used to coat the potpourri sold as synthetic marijuana. Dr. Elizabeth Scharman, director of the West Virginia Poison Control Center in Charleston, said she'd expect the effects of the drugs to be similar to other synthetic marijuana products like K2 and Spice—which could include extreme anxiety, hallucinations, vomiting and seizures. The effects of AM 2201 on these OD victims appeared to be immediate and included collapsing. “The reason they’re having such an adverse reaction is that they’re smoking it in pure form. If they were smoking it as K2, the chemical would have been diluted,” said Lt. Steve Cooper, chief detective for the Charleston Police Department. Predictably, these incidents are already being hyped by some media as the new "bath salts"—a substance that's already no stranger to sensationalization. Global Grind reported that the eight overdoses were in fact eight deaths. No such deaths have been mentioned by the Charleston Police Department.

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