ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state is launching a new effort to fight synthetic cannabinoids.

On Friday Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a multi-agency initiative that includes public awareness campaigns and greater resources for law enforcement. The effort includes additional drug-sniffing dogs who will search for the illicit substance in state correctional facilities.

Officials say the strategy also includes clinical guidance for mental health professionals and emergency room staff who treat users of the drug.

Known as synthetic cannabinoids or synthetic marijuana and sold under brand names such as K2, the lab-made drugs are intended to mimic the effects of marijuana but can have far more dangerous side effects.

The state has outlawed several different chemical formulations of the drug, but Cuomo says more must be done to discourage use and hold dealers accountable.

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