The Growing K2 Crisis: How a “Safe Alternative” Became the Opposite
K2, or Spice, is a synthetic drug that aims to mimic the effects of marijuana, offering what was advertised as a safer alternative; however, this is far from the truth as numerous reports of overdoses and deaths linked to the abuse of K2 come flooding in. In the current K2 crisis, more than 70 people overdosed in a week in New Haven, Conn. This statistics comes off the back of more than 300 people overdosing in Washington, D.C. in a two-week period in the previous month.
Due to the apparent outbreak of K2 overdose across the country, which is being tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration issued a national-wide warning about K2 as it causes “severe illnesses and deaths”.
What’s in K2 That Makes it So Dangerous?
So, how can a drug that is meant to be a safer alternative to marijuana cause people to be hospitalized due to K2 overdose? The answer lies in the varied recipes. The plant material found in K2 is sprayed with various man-made chemicals. The problem is that there is no telling what’s in each batch as manufacturers continue to adjust their recipes to avoid regulatory laws and to make their product more potent.
In eight of the recent deaths in July 2018 in the K2 crisis, a substance known as brodifacoum was found – a chemical that is used to create rat poison. With the apparent disregard by the manufacturers for the safety of the people buying their product, K2 has become a highly dangerous and addictive drug. Even samples from the same batch can have varying levels of active ingredients in them, making it a gamble each time K2 synthetic weed is taken.
According to Dr. Jenifer Smith of the Department of Forensic Sciences, the problem they face with banning certain chemicals used in the creation of k2 synthetic weed is that they not illegal by themselves, but can be deadly when all of the chemicals used are combined.
Furthermore, as with most drugs, effects are individual. What may be safe for one person to consume can cause a severe reaction in another that requires emergency care. So, what makes one person feel excited can cause another person to lose consciousness.
A Country-Wide Problem
First responders in the K2 crisis are reporting that the problem isn’t isolated to ethnicity, economic status or age. Its availability and perceived low-risk is behind much of the experimentation. It is sold everywhere including corner stores and gas stations. The packaging is brightly colored with names such as Ak-47, Spice, Kush, Scooby Snax, and Mr. Happy among others to entice buyers.
Another of the misconceptions about the drug is that it won’t appear on the standard drug tests, leading to people such as those on probation abusing it. Of course, this isn’t true.
Furthermore, first responders attending to a call about a possible overdose on K2 are finding multiple people with symptoms of overdose in the same area. Common symptoms include vomiting and loss of consciousness. In the Washington, D.C. area, 463 calls and 340 hospitalized patients have been reported in just 6 months in 2018.
Getting Professional Help
Little is known about the true extent of the damage that synthetic marijuana causes its users because the drug is relatively new. However, it is clear that the drug is addictive and can prove to be life-threatening.
Thankfully, the same methods of treating drug addiction and alcoholism are effective for treating K2 addiction. Find help in the K2 crisis by getting in touch with WhiteSands today at (877) 855-3470.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.