UPDATE: Over 100 K2 overdoses since April 12th

Posted By: Megan Conway

mconway@klkntv.com

The K2 overdoses continue to rise at an alarming rate.

“We do believe that this is a public health serious issues,” says Judy Halstead, Health Director of Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department.

“A very dangerous drug and not one that should be taken lightly,” says Ed Mlinek, Medical Director Emergency Services of Bryan Medical Center.

Community leaders held a conference this morning to address the many worries they have with K2. Many of the officials have worked in their field for over 25 years and they say they’ve never seen numbers like this. 

Synthetic marijuana or K2 is sweeping through Lincoln causing more than 100 overdoses in the last week and a half, which has community leaders worried.

“That K2 is not safe to smoke. We want our public to understand that and that there are significant medical consequences that come from that,” says Halstead.

K2, is marketed as a potpourri, but a lot of people smoke it. It consists of chemicals sprayed onto plant–like materials. Those chemicals are constantly being changed to stay a step ahead of the law to keep the product legal.

“Even though it’s called fake pot or synthetic marijuana, it’s really a chemical that’s acting on the receptors in the brain in a totally unpredictable and dangerous fashion,” says Mlinek.

One of the main problems? There are no similar traits between each case. Ages of victims range from 15 to 58 years old and no specific area of town is seeing the outbreak. Even the symptoms are different, some putting first responders in danger.

“We’ve had to in intubate or put a breathing tube down the throat of several of them and others have presented very combative. Some of those combative patients have taken quite a few firefighters, EMTs and police officers to physically restrain,” says Roger Bonin, Division Chief of Lincoln Fire and Rescue.

One patient’s heart even stopped and EMTs had to do CPR to bring them back to life. In an effort to stop this dangerous drug, LPD asked all businesses who sell it to take it off their shelves.All of the stores complied except for two, which had to be served warrants.

Luckily, none of these overdoses have resulted in death. Community leaders did say this was putting a strain on police, medics and hospitals.