"Bad Batch" Of K2 Suspected In DC Mass Overdose

By Victoria Kim 07/20/18

Since last week, 140 people were sickened and four have died in the suspected overdose wave.

ambulance on its way to an accident

A “bad batch” of K2, a nickname for “synthetic marijuana,” is the prime suspect behind a recent rash of apparent overdoses in Washington, D.C.

Fox 5 reported on Wednesday that 140 people were sickened and four have died since Saturday. “Since July 14th we’ve had over 100 people that we’ve transported,” said D.C. Fire & EMS Chief Gregory Dean.

While the suspected overdoses occurred in “pockets throughout the District,” emergency officials observed that many of them occurred near one homeless shelter not far from D.C. police headquarters.

“You will see people that are unconscious, people that are vomiting, people that are collapsing or maybe being overly aggressive—those are signs that they may be impacted or under the influence,” said Dean.

According to NBC News, the number of emergency calls for suspected overdoses has fluctuated in recent years. In July of 2016, the D.C. fire department responded to 597 overdose patients to the hospital, while in July of 2017, that number decreased to 105.

Authorities handed out “Emergency Alert” flyers in hard-hit areas containing information about K2, how to stay safe, and resources for substance use disorder treatment and behavioral health services.

While authorities have tried keeping up with the use of K2, reports of mass overdoses haven’t gone away.

Last month, the Daily Beast reported a “remarkable increase in the use of synthetic cannabinoids among IV drug users.” There are now at least 700 possible variations of synthetic cannabinoids, according to the report.

“We are now in our eighth generation of synthetic cannabinoids and they just keep getting more powerful and unpredictable,” said forensic narcotics expert David Leff. “Users you have no idea what you’re actually consuming. These are substances that have never been tested on humans.”

Also, over the last year, we’ve come across reports of K2 laced with bug spray, and K2 that cause more disturbing side effects like severe bleeding.

In April 2018, 56 such cases were reported in the Chicago-central Illinois area.

“All cases have required hospitalizations for symptoms such as coughing up blood, blood in the urine, severe bloody nose, and/or bleeding gums,” reported the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) at the time.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr