SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Public Health has received nearly 800,000 tablets of vitamin K to help treat individuals who became ill after using synthetic cannabis laced with a chemical found in rat poison.
IDPH received the donation from the Bausch Foundation, the independent charitable organization of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc, the agency said in a news release.
The chemical in rat poison, brodifacoum, prevents blood from clotting, which then causes severe bleeding. High doses of vitamin K over several months restores the blood's ability to clot.
“These individuals will need to take up to 30 tablets a day for up to six months, which could cost several thousands of dollars. This donation will allow every individual who has experienced severe bleeding, as well as any future cases, to receive lifesaving treatment free of charge,” said IDPH Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah in the release.
More than 150 people in Illinois, the majority of them in the Peoria area, have become sick after using synthetic cannabis. As of Monday, 151 people had been sickened, including 35 in Peoria County, 48 in Tazewell County and six in Woodford County. Fulton County has seen two cases, and Stark County has seen one.
Three people have died in the outbreak.