A story claiming that marijuana overdoses killed 37 people in Colorado on the first day of legalized pot has made the rounds after being published on a satirical website.
The story reported that a number of people suffered cardiac arrest after smoking marijuana, and claimed that the number of 37 deaths was verified by the Rocky Mountain News.
The problem is that the Rocky Mountain News has been out of business for the past five years, and the site that originally printed the story, the Daily Courant, is outwardly fake.
“Our stories are purely fictional,” the DailyCurrant.com website states on its “About” section. “However they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world.”
The story claimed that marijuana overdoses were taking place all over the state, and quoted a Dr. Jack Shepherd from Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center.
“It’s complete chaos here,” the fake doctor said. “I’ve put five college students in body bags since breakfast and more are arriving every minute.”
“We are seeing cardiac arrests, hypospadias, acquired trimethylaminuria and multiple organ failures,” the doctor continued. “By next week the death toll could go as high as 200, maybe 300. Someone needs to step in and stop this madness. My god, why did we legalize marijuana? What were we thinking?”
While Dr. Jack Shepherd is a character from the ABC drama Lost, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center is indeed real and was forced to issue a clarification after the marijuana overdoses story went viral.
But while the story may be fake, some in Colorado are opposed to legalized marijuana. As sales topped $1 million the first day and are expected to reach $600 million for the first year, critics fear that marijuana addiction could grow.
“It’s not just a benign recreational drug that we don’t have to worry about,” said Dr. Paula Riggs, head of the Division of Substance Dependence at the University of Colorado-Denver medical campus.
The fake story on marijuana overdoses killing 37 people in Colorado can be found here.