NEW YORK (WABC) --There is a warning from the New York City Health Department on the dangers of synthetic marijuana.
Authorities say in the last four days, 15 people in East and Central Harlem as well as Chelsea have had severe reactions after using the products.
And there has been a 220 percent spike this year in emergency room visits because of the substance.
Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, Spice, and Green Giant, became illegal in 2012.
"K2, Spice, Green Giant - no matter what you call it, synthetic cannabinoids are dangerous and illegal," Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said. "I urge people not to use these products, which have caused a huge spike in emergency room visits this year."
Because the ingredients change frequently in synthetic cannabinoids, the risks and consequences of using them are unpredictable and there is no antidote, the health department says. Reactions include seizures and hallucinations, though symptoms usually do not last longer than 1-2 hours.
The Health Department urges New Yorkers who see synthetic cannabinoids for sale to report this to 311, which will send the information to NYPD.
Drug treatment locators are available at: www.oasas.ny.gov.
Referrals for treatment are available at 1-800-LIFENET.