Did Benton County Jail Inmate Die from Synthetic Pot Use?
The official coroner's report was released Tuesday by Benton County, and the cause of death in the March incident has been deemed "Accident." Based upon the coroner's report it appears that is likely. More and more police and emergency personnel say people are having to be hospitalized due to synthetic pot use.
It was a widely publicized case, in which 18-year-old Marc Anthony Moreno was brought in on a variety of misdemeanor charges.
He was taken in because of disruptive and dangerous behavior at a mental health facility earlier. He had come into the building apparently seeking assistance, but his behavior became threatening, and staff called police.
He died in the jail March 11th, and the Special Investigations Unit was brought in to work the case. He had been placed in a special holding unit, provided with food and water, but began to exhibit various degrees of erratic behavior. According to the SIU report he was evaluated and spoken to several times by mental health professionals to ensure his well being, and was regularly checked on by jail officials prior to his death.
Toxicology and other body tests took a long time to get back from the State Crime lab following an autopsy. The official cause of death was listed by Coroner John Hansens as "Cardiac Arrhythmia and Dehydration due to the use of Synthetic Cannabinoids."
These are synthetic manufactured drugs that produce many of the same effects as THC from marijuana, but are found to be more dangerous. You may have heard of "spice", the street name for some types of such drugs that have been sold in head shops. Some countries have banned these type of drugs altogether.
Researchers have found some synthetic cannibinoids have been linked to psychotic episodes days after use, some which result in death. It appears likely this is what killed Moreno.