K2 problem persists in Downtown Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin paramedics continue responding to calls regarding K2, or spice, with four additional cases overnight into Sunday.

In the Downtown Austin area there have been 27 overdoses since the outbreak hit Wednesday evening. All of the cases came from the same area near The ARCH homeless shelter downtown.

Austin-Travis County EMS crews said patients ranged from teens, to young adults, and even a pregnant woman in her third trimester.

Between Wednesday and Friday, medics responded to 17 K2 overdoses and six more Saturday. First responders warn people to stay away from the drug.

EMS said the calls usually come in as patients with unusually high heart rates, seizures, or patients who are unconscious.

While some users were found with the drug in their pocket, first responders said other signs show that patients were overdosing on K2.

Officials said users can become combative, aggressive and even physical. Because of that, Austin EMS undergoes special training with The Austin Police Department to handle the growing number of K2 overdoses they are seeing.

“We do continuing education with our medics, so some of those things we do is some self defense and how to restrain patients,” said EMS Commander Wesley Hopkins. “We like to have the Austin Police Department with us, and they help us in that procedure.”

In the latest stint of K2 overdoses no deaths have been reported. Austin Police are working to find the distributor who is selling the drug in Austin.

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