MARSHALL CO., OK – The new drug K2 has been making national headlines, as the side effects become more severe and cities begin banning the substance. And after a local teen overdosed on the drug, the parents are speaking about the dangers of K2.
Last Monday night the parents of a Marshall County teen rushed to Sherman after they got a call that their son had been taken to the emergency room at Texoma Medical Center.
"They had everything but a breathing machine hooked up to him. His heart rate accelerated, his blood pressure went sky high, it's just bad news,” said the stepfather, Richard.
Richard doesn't want his identity released, but said his 16 year old stepson had driven down to Sherman with two other friends to buy the drug. They smoked a version of the incense – K4 – in the Midway Mall parking lot. But after they had a severe reaction one of the teens called a parent in Oklahoma, who then called 9-1-1.
"I think it scared them, I think it scared them a lot, I think it scared all three of them, because they thought they were going to die when they went to the emergency room,” said Richard.
K2, and other versions of the drug, all look at smell like potpourri. They aren’t illegal because they’re sold as an incense and state on the label “not for human consumption.” But the chemicals used are meant to simulate the effects of marijuana.
Several toxicologists found that the dried herbs and chemicals in K2 can cause severe reactions like seizures, hallucinations, vomiting and heart problems.
"If those kinds of chemicals get into the system it can have all kinds of unpredictable effects. So very dangerous to use, legal, but unpredictable compounds to use them for recreational drug abuse,” said Dr. Duke Carlson, a physician with TexomaCare.
Richard has started a website warning about the dangers of K2 and is trying to get the word about in hopes that other parents won't have to go through what he did.
Several deaths around the country and in North Texas have also been linked to K2 use.
"Educate the parents, and then hopefully the kids will get educated too,” said Richard.
Dr. Carlson said putting any toxic chemicals into your body is a bad idea, and could have serious consequences.
"Don't jump on the next recreational drug fad, it can be deadly, people die. Especially young people who think they want to experiment with these supposedly legal drugs,” he said.
Several cities, including Gainesville, have already banned the substance. A proposition to ban K2 in Sherman is also on the agenda for Sherman City Council's meeting next Tuesday.