Last week, more than 70 people were treated for overdoses on synthetic cannabis in Saint Louis, MO. A dangerous toxic substance, known as K2, was distributed among the homeless population in the downtown area.
The first cases happened Monday through Wednesday, when at least 43 people were diagnosed with drug overdose. Most of the incidents occurred downtown, near the New Life Evangelistic Center Shelter. Another case took place on Thursday evening, when 38 more people were diagnosed with the same condition and most of them were hospitalized.
Luckily, paramedics managed to save everyone's lives. However, this tendency of synthetic cannabis overdoses is forcing the authorities to raise alarm.
“Our medics are doing an unbelievable job,” Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said. When overdosed, K2 makes some users paranoid and aggressive, while others turn into “zombies” that cannot react properly to anything around them.
According to Jenkerson, his department had dealt with more overdoses during the last few days than some other agencies can deal in a year.
K2 has lots of negative effects and causes different ailments, in some cases even death. Whoever was distributing the synthetic marijuana in the city, they were aiming at some of the most vulnerable people in the society. K2 is a cheap way to get high, you can even find a rolled cigarette for as little as $1. Without access to legal marijuana, people have to turn towards much more dangerous substances that eventually bring them to the hospital.
So far, there is no way to prohibit synthetic marijuana in the U.S. as manufacturers and distributors mark their products as “not suitable for human consumption.” The black market of drugs causes more harm that cannabis. While the harmless herb remains illegal, other legal products that can be used for getting high lead to another wave of drug epidemics.
The experience of such countries as the Netherlands and Portugal that have legalized cannabis a long time ago shows that free access to natural marijuana does not cause the deteriorating of the health state of the country’s population. Instead, the statistics demonstrate that the legalization of marijuana leads to a decrease in the number of deaths associated with the drug consumption and the general number of drug addicts.
So far, there are already 28 states including Washington D.C. that have legalized either only medical or both medical and recreational marijuana. It gives us hope that after some time, we will see synthetic weed leave our streets and the overdose rates decline.