K2 epidemic arrives in Lockhart
By LPR Staff
A synthetic version of marijuana that has been causing chaos for Austin police and emergency responders has begun to raise its head in Lockhart.
A call to Lockhart High School on Wednesday morning for an individual allegedly under the influence of ‘K2’ marks the second such call in the last wee
k for Lockhart police, who noted as the problem grew in Austin this summer, issues had not yet reached Lockhart.
Also known as “spice,” K2 is marketed in many areas as a safe, legal alternative to marijuana. Created from shredded plants and treated with chemicals that create the same psychoactive effects as cannabis, K2 has grown in popularity over the last several years, based not only upon its effects, but the fact that it is easy to obtain.
According to police, however, K2 is also known to create seizures, elevated temperatures, aggressive tendencies and outbursts of violence in users.
In July, Austin authorities expressed growing concern that a batch of K2 released to the streets had been treated with bug spray, prompting more than 400 K2-related calls in fewer than five weeks.
“I would say that this is a problem that is growing here, much like everywhere else,” said Lockhart Police Chief Mike Lummus on Wednesday morning. “We are not at the level of Austin, but we are seeing more and more of it.”
Classified by the Texas Department of State Health Services as a controlled substance in 2011, and possession, distribution or manufacture of K2 can be a Class A or Class B Misdemeanor. That does not, however, keep the drug derivative from being easily available across Central Texas.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has been trying to keep up with manufacturers who use the chemicals originally designed as research tools to investigate the properties of cannabis, to determine the best mix of chemicals to replicate its effects. Often, this is done with very little knowledge or regard of how those chemicals will affect the human body after the “high.”
News outlets and police across the state have reported a growing number of K2 overdoses, particularly in teens, since the substance was outlawed in 2011. Among those, teens have suffered heart attacks, seizures, high fevers, kidney failure and metabolic disorders.
If you are concerned that your child may be using K2, contact the Hays Caldwell Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse at (512) 396-7695. To report illegal activity in your area, call the Lockhart Police Department at (512) 398-4401 or the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department at (512) 398-6777. To report an emergency, dial 9-1-1.