A bad batch of synthetic marijuana is being linked to a surge of overdoses in Washington D.C. over the past several days, with many of them occurring near the CCNV homeless shelter and police headquarters.
Medicinal and recreational cannabis are both legal in the distrtict and yet paramedics and firefighters have responded to more than 100 overdose cases in four days with four of them resulting in death.
“Since July 14, we’ve had over 100 people that we’ve transported,” D.C. Fire & EMS Chief Gregory Dean told WRC-TV. “As we walk around, we continue to find more patients.
According to fire officials, being dehydrated can also render users more prone to an overdose.
“You will see people that are unconscious, people that are vomiting, people that are collapsing or maybe bring overly aggressive,” Dean told WTTG. “Those are signs that they may be impacted or under the influence.”
One local Twitter user tweeted that an area only a block away from the police station looked like a scene out of The Walking Dead with people that were “dropping like flies all day from what’s being called by first responders, bad K2.”
The number of recent overdoses is comparable to those from 2016 when local hospitals admitted 597 for synthetic marijuana poisoning. In 2017, the number dropped to 2017 but has risen since.
Police recommend that people call 911 if they see people that are falling down, collapsing, vomiting, or unconscious so emergency personnel can assist them.
To help create awareness and combat the issue, police and homeless advocates are distributing a city-created Emergency Alert flier with information about synthetic marijuana and drug addiction resources.