No ‘Nice Guy’: 8 teens hospitalized after using illegal synthetic cannabis drug

Health Ministry issues urgent warning against substance which led to death this week of 31-year-old Haifa resident

Police find bags of an illegal cannabis synthetic cannabinoid in the Haifa area, on September 26, 2021. (Israel Police)
Police find bags of an illegal cannabis synthetic cannabinoid in the Haifa area, on September 26, 2021. (Israel Police)

Eight Israeli teenagers were hospitalized overnight Friday-Saturday after consuming an illegal synthetic cannabis substance, the Israeli Health Ministry said Saturday. One of the kids was in serious condition.

All of the teenagers were suffering from internal bleeding suggesting the substance was laced with a poisonous substance, possibly rat poison, the ministry said, adding that it is issuing an urgent warning against the drug, commonly known as “Mr. Nice Guy.”

The ministry warned that the drug “can lead to death,” and is “particularly dangerous because it is mixed with different substances including [other] drugs, poisonous materials, and pesticides, which change from distributor to distributor.”

On Monday, a 31-year-old Haifa resident died after consuming the synthetic cannabinoid. He was taken to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center last weekend along with others who took the drug cocktail, where he was later pronounced dead.

The hospital said he suffered a major cerebral hemorrhage.

Last weekend, 12 teens were hospitalized in medical centers in the north of the country after taking the drug. Reports at the time suggested the synthetic cannabinoid that once dominated Tel Aviv’s streets was suspected to have been taken with anticoagulants aimed at getting the drug around the body faster.

The teens were all admitted with dizziness, vomiting, and hallucinations, all known side effects of the drug.

The police and the Health Ministry opened a joint investigation and have so far arrested three men in the Haifa area suspected of distributing the drug.

A 27-year-old from Kiryat Motzkin and a 31-year-old Haifa man were detained on Sunday over the suspicion of distributing the drug. On Monday, a 23-year-old from Tirat Carmel was arrested, with the drugs reportedly found on his person.

Following the 31-year-old’s death, the men are now suspected of manslaughter.

A man suspected of distributing an illegal cannabis synthetic cannabinoid is arrested in the Haifa area, September 26, 2021. (Israel Police)

In 2011, “Mr. Nice Guy” and other synthetic cannaboids, which became increasingly popular in Israel, were banned. They had previously been approved by the health and welfare committee in the Knesset.

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