Emergency officials are yet again responding to dozens of K2 calls. The Austin Fire Department said the incidents are taxing on resources. So much it could be delaying response times to other people who may need help.
The Austin Police Department said they have arrested 10 people near the "Arch" in downtown within a few days in response to recent K2 wave. But emergency officials are still seeing call after call and patient after patient who have taken the toxic synthetic drug. AFD they had to start prioritizing to make sure they are responding to all 911 calls.
Austin-Travis County EMS said they responded to more than 60 K2 patients in less than a 24-hour period. Lt. Jim Baker with AFD said they brought extra units to the downtown area to try to relieve some of the burden, “It's taxing because we end up having to bring multiple units, and it’s taxing on individual units. Sometimes we will get on the call and we will have four, five, even six patients, just for one engine company and we only have four people. Thursday AFD responded to a 2-alarm apartment fire, a gas leak and dozens of K2 patients and they said it's slowing them down. “It sometimes delays the response to other people that are not on K2, that are having a heart attack, shortness of breath, or car accidents,” Lt. Baker said.
Adding to all of that, Lt. Baker said those on K2 can be violent and it takes three, sometimes four people to restrain just one patient. “Every batch of K2 is different and it could be day to day, it could be week to week, depending on the supply that's coming in and how quickly it's being used.” He said sometimes they are violent towards those responding, “We've been spit on, we've been swung at.” They can even be violent toward themselves. “They may be hitting their head on the concrete, or hitting a fist against the wall, it's just kind of a crap shoot on whatever we are going to end up seeing,” he said.
APD said because of the ongoing K2 problem near "The Arch" they were conducting operations, which led to 10 arrests for delivery of controlled substances.
But Lt. Baker said this is an ongoing problem he's seen in downtown for years. “It's tough, it's the fight on drugs, we are not winning on this one, even if the police department arrests one person, it's multiple people.” But he said rest assured, they will be there for people, if they need them, “If you call 911 and you request emergency services, you will get somebody,” he said.
The last time there was a major wave of K2 incidents in Downtown Austin was August of 2016. EMS reported they responded to nearly 100 patients in a four day period.