Use of sythetic drug, K2, on the rise

In the past three days, Austin/Travis County EMS says they've treated 35 people for ingesting the synthetic drug K2. They fear that number may continue to rise, especially as a new product is hitting the streets.

"There's a trend now that they are starting to treat it to get this bigger high," says the Austin Police Department's Organized Crime Unit's Lieutenant Pat Connor.

Dealers are peddling the drug as cheap. Because it's tough to pinpoint what's in it, dealers are pushing it, alleging that it's legal, even though it's not.

"Every different batch of K2 has some different chemicals so what someone thought today was okay, they buy the same batch tomorrow. So it's got different chemicals in it that you are going to react to differently."

Austin County EMS officials are worried that the latest rash may be just the tip of the iceberg.

"This is not an overdose situation, this can be a single dose situation," says EMS Chief Ernesto Rodriguez. "A person could be contemplating experimenting with drugs and thinking that K2 might be a safe alternative, it's not."

At one time, a side effect was anger and violence, EMS says now they're finding K2 users comatose. Connor says it's because of the more lethal ingredients.

"We've got information that the people are putting raid bug spray on it."

No one in Austin has died from using K2 but there is a fear it could happen at any time.

"We want it to be something that is discussed at the dinner table," says Rodriguez of the need to get the word out. "We want people to look at their teens in the eye and say this is not a safe drug, this is dangerous."

In the past it's been tough for cops to crack down, because the ingredients keep changing. They haven't had the power to test as wide a range of illegal substances that could be mixed in.

A law that's just been passed will change that. It goes into effect on September 1st.


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