City sounds the alarm on syn­thetic mar­i­juana

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - BY LORI ARATANI lori.aratani@wash­

Dis­trict of­fi­cials are warn­ing the public about the dan­gers of syn­thetic drugs known as K2 and Scooby Snax fol­low­ing a se­ries of over­doses over the last month that have been linked to their use.

The ad­vi­sory fol­lows re­ports that at least seven peo­ple at the Dis­trict’s largest home­less shel­ter over­dosed on syn­thetic mar­i­juana Fri­day. All of them were in se­ri­ous con­di­tion but were ex­pected to sur­vive, D.C. fire depart­ment spokesman Ti­mothy Wil­son said.

In a public health ad­vi­sory re­leased Satur­day, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said her ad­min­is­tra­tion was com­mit­ted to crack­ing down on the dis­tri­bu­tion and con­sump­tion of th­ese drugs.

The ad­vi­sory noted that there has been a danger­ous spike in over­doses in the last month, in­clud­ing “nearly a dozen trans­ports yes­ter­day.”

“Syn­thetic drugs are il­le­gal and danger­ous,” Bowser said in the ad­vi­sory. “Th­ese drug present a clear dan­ger to the public.”

It also noted that it is likely some of the over­doses go un­re­ported or un­treated.

Ac­cord­ing to the ad­vi­sory, syn­thetic mar­i­juana, a po­tent and danger­ous hal­lu­cino­gen, is be­ing sold at liquor stores and gas sta­tions. Such prod­ucts are com­monly known as K2, Scooby Snax, Biz­zaro or Spice. The dan­gers are par­tic­u­larly acute for young peo­ple.

In­di­vid­u­als who use syn­thetic drugs may ex­pe­ri­ence anx­i­ety, para­noia, ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat, seizures and death.

If res­i­dents in the Dis­trict are con­cerned about a per­son who maybe us­ing syn­thetic mar­i­juana, they should con­tact the Depart­ment of Be­hav­ioral Health’s 24-7 Ac­cess Help line at 1-888-793-4357. If a per­son en­coun­ters some­one who may be overdosing on such drugs, they should call 911.

In ad­di­tion, any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the il­le­gal sale of th­ese drugs is asked to call D.C. po­lice at (202) 727-9099. Anony­mous in­for­ma­tion may be sub­mit­ted by send­ing a text mes­sage to 50411.

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