Dangerous K2 strain called ‘The Walking Dead’

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin’s recent string of overdoses on the drug K2 has captured the attention of federal investigators, working nationwide to bust dealers and get the synthetic marijuana off city streets.

There have been at least 37 reported overdoses on K2 in Austin since April 30, and police are now calling a dangerous strain of synthetic marijuana “The Walking Dead.”

Police said the drug came from Dallas and was then sold by dealers in downtown Austin.

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“When they sold the synthetic marijuana, they (buyers) were being told it was ‘The Walking Dead,’” said Organized Crime Division Commander Chris McIlvain.

Police have yet to obtain a sample of that specific strain of the drug.

Authorities seized about 360 packets of other brands of K2 from the three people they say sold the drugs in Austin. But testing showed that the components used to make the drug are not illegal and no charges were filed.

Investigators say those who used the K2 first became catatonic and then turned aggressive when they regained their senses.

In-Depth: About K2

  • K2, or “spice,” is a mixture of herbs and spices sprayed with various chemicals, similar to the psychoactive part in marijuana: THC.
  • This synthetic marijuana comes in bags and resembles potpourri.
  • The “high” from taking the drug comes quickly and stays with the user for hours.
  • K2 causes a loss of physical control — leading to seizures, vomiting and elevated blood pressure. Paranoia and delusions are also risk factors.
  • K2 is relatively new on the drug scene. Therefore, its long-term impacts are not known.
  • K2 was banned nationwide in 2012.


Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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