Synthetic cannabinoid-related ED visit trends in Maryland using ESSENCE, 2013-2018


Maryland utilizes ESSENCE for identification of emerging public health threats, including non-fatal overdoses. Synthetic cannabinoids are heterogeneous psychoactive compounds identified as substances of abuse [1]. In March 2018, the Illinois Department of Public Health received reports of unexplained bleeding in patients who reported using these products [2]. As a result, CDC initiated coordination of national surveillance activities for possible cases of coagulopathy associated with synthetic cannabinoids use. By May 2018, state health departments reported 202 cases, including five deaths [3]. On April 3, 2018, Maryland reported its index case - a female in her 20'™s who presented to an ED with nausea, blood in her stool, vaginal bleeding, bruising, an elevated internal normalized ratio (> 12.2), and bleeding oral ulcers after quitting use of a synthetic cannabinoid. She was successfully treated with Vitamin K. The first reported mortality in a Maryland resident was a male in his 30'™s who called EMS for fever and blood in his urine but subsequently went into cardiac arrest and was unable to be resuscitated. The patient was known to use synthetic cannabinoids. Brodifacoum exposure was confirmed by laboratory testing. As of September 2018, the Maryland Poison Control Center had received reports of 43 cases, and 3 deaths linked to the outbreak.

Objective: Develop a free text query to track synthetic cannabinoid-related ED visits. Assess trends in synthetic cannabinoid use from 2013-2018 using spatial and time-series analysis.

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Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
January, 2019

June 18, 2019

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