TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – The use of a dangerous drug is becoming more widespread in Texarkana, Texas, according to police.
“Almost daily we’re finding drivers passed out behind the wheel under the influence of synthetic marijuana or K2,” said Officer Jonathan Price, Texarkana Texas Police Department.
In the 10 years Price has been on the force, he said the number of K2-related arrests has grown substantially. In June and July 2019, K2 was involved in about 16 percent of all drug arrests.
Price said the drug doesn’t discriminate and is used across demographic groups.
“I mean between all ages, sexes, race, ethnicities – it doesn’t matter,” said Price.
K2 is marketed as a “safe” alternative to marijuana, but doctors say there’s nothing safe about it.
“[Users] can go from in a few minutes being normal to being quote-unquote out of their minds,” said Dr. Matt Young, Texarkana Emergency Center.
To create the drug, chemicals are sprayed on plant-based materials and there’s no way to know the concentration or content of those chemicals.
Some of the drug’s effects include psychosis and kidney damage.
“Your blood pressure can get high, your heart rate can get high and so it can be critical,” said Young. “It can cause seizures, and unfortunately, can cause cardiac arrest.”
Some of these scary effects were experienced first-hand by one recovering drug addict.
“I could feel my heartbeat in the bottoms of my feet, and it just rushed all the way up my body, like it felt like all of my organs was shutting down,” she said. “My throat got tight, my lungs were getting compressed.”
She said she tried dozens of drugs over about two decades and wanted to remain anonymous because of her children.
Now, coming up on a year of sobriety, she’s trying to raise awareness about the drug’s dangers.
“None of it’s good, but the K2 was the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she said. “And it’s so easy for them to get it, it’s crazy.”
“You never know what you’re gonna get and you never know what kind of reaction it’s gonna give the brain,” said Price.
If you or someone you know is battling addiction, you can find some resources here.