Dangerous variation of K2 sends 28 people to hospital in Tulsa

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Last week, an unfortunate record was set in Tulsa when a new variation of synthetic marijuana, also known as “spice” or K2, hit the street and 28 individuals were subsequently hospitalized.  The youngest person was 12 years old.  Twelve!

As I thought about this, I identified three aspects of synthetic marijuana that make it especially dangerous and particularly difficult to combat.  One is access: this recent version of K2 was being sold in a Phillips 66 convenience store in our downtown area.   It’s since been searched, arrests were made, and it is currently closed.  The fact that you can buy this drug at a gas station makes it more accessable to a wider group of people–people who may not know a dealer, for example.

This type of access leads into number two–a mistaken sense that the drug is somehow “safe.”  The seemingly legal selling of it as well as it’s association to marijuana, which many consider harmless, makes it appear as if K2 is a safe or safer way to get high.  It is anything but safe.  Using it one time can bring on psychotic symptoms that can last for weeks, seizures and excessively violent behavior are also common reactions to K2.  The chemical compounds that make up K2 are constantly shifting, so you never know what you are putting in your body.

This is the third challenging aspect of K2, because once one chemical compound is banned, distributors find a way to make minor changes and shazaam…we’re circling back to the issue of access since the new version can be sold legally.  Police are left to play a game of whack-a-mole in their ongoing efforts to combat the selling of this drug.

I’ve written before that K2 is not your parent’s, or even your older sibling’s, marijuana.  It’s extremely dangerous, and we must educate ourselves and the general public about this ongoing crisis.

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