- Associated Press - Saturday, October 10, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Elected officials, law enforcement and health experts have joined together to study ways to stop synthetic marijuana use.

Democratic state Sen. Jeff Klein of the Bronx hosted Friday’s summit, which included representatives from the New York City Police Department, the FBI, DEA and state and local public health officials.

The summit was intended to highlight what Klein calls a “public health epidemic” and find ways to curb use of the drug, which is designed to mimic marijuana but can have very different health effects.

New York recently expanded a ban on synthetic pot to include new formulations of the drug.

Synthetic marijuana use prompted more than 2,300 emergency room visits in the state between early June and Aug. 1, 10 times more than the same period last summer.

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