Hackel issues health order against latest drug trend

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published September 25, 2014

 Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel issued a health order against a new and dangerous drug trend called Cloud 9. The liquid synthetic drug is made from chemicals found in air freshener and bath salts.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel issued a health order against a new and dangerous drug trend called Cloud 9. The liquid synthetic drug is made from chemicals found in air freshener and bath salts.

Photo by Julie Snyder

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MACOMB COUNTY — Called Cloud 9 or Hookah Relax on the street, a new liquid synthetic drug is having some dangerous side effects for local teens and adults.

So on Sept. 24, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel issued an emergency order declaring an imminent danger to the health of the community as a result of the potentially lethal drug, making it clear that any retailers found selling the drug will face stiff violations.

“The mad scientists are back at it,” said Hackel during a press conference outside McLaren Macomb Hospital in Mount Clemens. “I saw it with K2 a few years ago. We realize it’s back; it’s back in a different form.”

The liquid synthetic cannabinoid made from chemicals found in air fresheners and bath salts is the latest trend with high school kids, as well as some adults, and has put more than a few users in the emergency room in recent weeks.

According to James Larkin, McLaren Macomb’s chairman of Emergency Medicine, users are ingesting the drug through a dropper directly onto the tongue, sprinkling it on marijuana, adding it directly to energy drinks and smoking it as vapor through electronic cigarettes or “hookah pens.”

Larkin said the side effects include hallucinations, a rapid heartbeat, chest pains, increased blood pressure, aggressive behavior and vomiting. Some side effects have even included suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

“I had one man come into the emergency room just this morning after smoking it as vapor,” Larkin said.

“There’s a broad spectrum,” he continued. “For parents, if your child is just not acting right, check into the possibility of this drug.”   The drug can be purchased at many gas stations and convenience stores for around $20 for a small eye drop bottle.

At press time, there had been no deaths related to the use of Cloud 9, and medical professionals don’t yet know what the long-term side effects may be, but there have been 23 reported visits to emergency rooms around southeast Michigan since April.

On Sept. 22, two Westland-area students were hospitalized after ingesting the drug, and two weeks ago, four Canton-area students were also hospitalized.

Local officials such as Macomb County Health Officer Bill Ridella fear an increase in those reports or even worse.

“This is a serious issue here in southeast Michigan,” he said. “There are retailers in Macomb County selling it. We want to know who is selling it. We want the public to keep a look out and let us know if they know of any business that is selling it (and similar liquid or otherwise synthetic drugs).”

Hackel said while the health order will help control the sale of the drug in Macomb County, online sales is an entirely different ball of wax. Putting an end to online sales of Cloud 9 and similar drugs is a federal issue.

“We’d hope people have concern about the health and wellness of the kids,” said Hackel. “We’re confident it (the emergency order) will work.”

Retailers that still have the product or similar products on their shelves now that the health order has been signed will face confiscation by the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and the Health Department, and face a misdemeanor charge, six months in jail or a $200 fine, or both.

Anyone who sees liquid synthetic drugs being sold at any Macomb County retailer is asked to call the Health Department with the location at (586) 469-5235.

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