State officials say synthetic marijuana use continues to be a problem in Louisiana, especially in the southern part of the state. It is illegal to sell and use synthetic marijuana here but that's not keeping people from partaking says Dr. Mark Ryan, the executive director of the Poison Control Center.
"And we're continuing to see brand new substances emerge out there," said Ryan. "In fact one of the newest strains has only been identified within the last couple of months and is showing up in crime labs throughout the country."
Ryan says these chemicals are very dangerous substances that are poisoning people's brains and there is nothing safe about it.
He says even though synthetic drugs are illegal in Louisiana, there are so many chemicals that can cause a cannabis-like high that it's hard to keep up with the manufacturers.
"So what we have to do is identify the ones that are causing problems and move to ban those," Ryan said. "It's impossible to ban everything."
Ryan says they have been getting calls from hospitals with reports of people having horrible reactions to these drugs and also more people being jailed for some offense after taking it.
He says they've seen citizens as young as 12 and as old as 72 overdosing on synthetic marijuana and it's a statewide issue, but Baton Rouge in particular has seen a major spike in synthetic marijuana related issues.