What is K2? EPD Narcotics Unit Explains the Drug Behind this Month's Headlines

K2, also known as spice, is something you've probably heard of after a surge of overdoses this month, along with several arrests and busts.

But what exactly is the drug wreaking havoc in our neighborhoods, and what makes it so dangerous?

Despite popular belief, the answer isn't synthetic marijuana.

Lt. Monty Guenin with Evansville Police Department Narcotics Joint Task Force Unit said,"when you say synthetic marijuana, people think that's whats going to happen to them, they're going to get that relaxed feeling. But they're going to get a lot more than that."

The right answer, according to the EPD Narcotics Unit, is a synthetic cannabinoid, which just means the high comes from a man-made chemical compound, more like methamphetamine than pot.

The base for K2 can be made out of something as common as potpourri, which you can find on the shelves of your local grocery store.

What experts say makes K2 so dangerous is the synthetic powder drug makers mix with acetone and spray on top.

While it may still look like weed-- that's where the similarities stop.

Lt. Guenin said,"What happens is the synthetic does attach to the same part that THC [the main chemical in marijuana] does, but it does far greater damage than that. It attaches and then attacks other parts of the brain."

And there's a lot more that comes with getting high off K2 than that laid back feeling associated with pot.

Lt. Guenin said, "the more than that's going to be nausea sweating, out of control behavior, violent behavior, possible death, an overdosing."

And the stakes are a lot higher than it's natural namesake.

Wes Nall, a nurse in Deaconess' Emergency Department said,"you have people who literally stop breathing, end up on ventilator management, sometimes they don't make it to the vent and it causes death."

But even if it rolls like weed, and smokes like weed, don't call it weed.

Nall said, "we don't always know what we're dealing with, what version, what flavor."

Lt. Guenin said, "you have no idea what you're ingesting, you have no clue what your ingesting."

 


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