Synthetic drug K2 cases see decline in Amarillo

Synthetic drug K2 cases see decline in Amarillo
Synthetic drug K2 cases see decline. Source: KFDA
Synthetic drug K2 cases see decline. Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - In the wake of hundreds of cases of K2 overdoses country-wide just last week, it begs the question where does Amarillo stand with these cases?

Amarillo took a hard hit when the synthetic drug K2 was first introduced to teens and even adults, as officials saw many people hospitalized.

But things have since changed, although we are told there is still work that needs to be done.

Last week, officers say a New York neighborhood was turned into a "Zombie land" as over 30 people high on K2 suffered bizarre symptoms.

At the peak of the drug's popularity, Amarillo was no stranger to seeing multiple people hospitalized.

But things have changed.

"K2 or the synthetic cannabinoids were very popular in Amarillo for a time and even across Texas," says Texas Panhandle Poison Center Managing Director Jeanie Jaramillo. "Currently what poison centers in Texas are seeing is a drop, so as of the end of June this year, we have had about half of the cases that we have received this time last year."

There are a couple of things that can be contributing to the decline in reported cases. Jaramillo says ER physicians could be more comfortable with treating K2 cases without getting the poison center involved..or there can simply be fewer cases.

But she has no doubt educating people has had an impact.

"I do think the education over the past several years has effected the use of K2 in Amarillo in a good way," says Jaramillo. "I think that more teens are knowledgeable about how dangerous it is in our community and are choosing not to use it as a result. There have been people who have died following one use, so it's not something that can you can try a few times and stop. It's also very addictive."

While Texas has seen a decline, the problem around the country is nowhere near gone. Officials are still seeing thousands of people hospitalized every year.

"The reason they're able to sell it is they market it as not for human consumption, so they sell it as an incense but it's known that it's not used in that manner. So it's pretty readily available in smoke shops across the U.S. I believe it's still pretty readily available here in Amarillo as well."

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