Deadly strain of K2 found in St. Louis raises concern

ST. LOUIS – K2 laced with the same ingredient that's in rat poison has already been found in Illinois, but now it’s crossed into St. Louis.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Doug Moore says it has some worried this might be the start of a health crisis.

“There’s never just one. So they’re gonna start seeing others ... but this excessive bleeding and it’s really sort of having a crippling effect on healthcare and EMS that’s whether trying to figure out where the stuff is coming from and how can we stop," he explains.

Moore says a doctor at SLU has confirmed one person was hospitalized for symptoms.

He says K2 can be mixed with anything that can get you high that’s not a controlled substance, but that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. He explains it’s just harder to get arrested for unlike with marijuana.

“It’s cheaper, number one; it’s more powerful, number two; and three, a lot of these folks are on probation for some kind of criminal record or they’re in a work program where they have to do urine analysis on a regular basis,” says Moore.

He says two officers are tracking the users trying to determine where this K2 is coming from and how much people are taking before becoming sick.

"Usually they have lost a lot of blood, so they give you more plasma, but they also have to get put you on a vitamin K regimen and so after you’ve been in the hospital six or seven days, they say you need to keep taking this vitamin K. So depending on how severe the cases, you need to take between 70 and 200 pills a week.”

It adds up to almost $1,600 for a month's worth of treatment, which could be out of the question for the homeless population with whom the drug is most prevalent.

What’s been done to stop this?

“So I think it’s still a little too new and there’s too many agencies that aren't really sure if they want to take the lead on it yet, but I can tell that the pressure is mounting internally and they need to get together and make something happen,” Moore says.