Almost two dozen people were treated for synthetic drug overdoses in downtown St. Louis recently, KTVI reports.
Most of the overdoses were linked to K2.
“One of the challenges in treating these overdoses with the synthetic is first of all, the Narcan we use on regular heroin or opioid-based drugs does not work,” St. Louis Fire Department Captain Garon Mosby said. He noted many of the overdose victims were homeless.
“One of the challenges for our medics upon arriving is determining that what they are treating is indeed a synthetic overdose,” he noted. “A lot of times the patient will have a seizure. We respond to seizures, but it could be induced by this synthetic drug. We’re treating higher body temperatures, hyperthermia is very common. And the patients seem to be very combative.”
Following reports of 130 suspected overdoses linked to synthetic drugs in New York last week, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer introduced a bill that would ban 22 synthetic drugs.
While some synthetic cannibinoids are banned under federal law, people who make the drugs continually change the chemical compound to stay one step ahead of authorities, CNN reports.
Schumer’s bill would outlaw variants of “K2” and “Spice,” as well as variants of the opioid fentanyl.
“New York’s most recent K2 binge that left our ER’s bulging and streets strewn with stupefied users with zombie-like symptoms are a sign of what’s to come if Congress doesn’t act quickly,” Schumer said in a news release.