Ark. & Texas leaders come together to address ‘public health emergency’ involving K2 overdose deaths

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 12:30 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2023 at 7:25 PM CDT
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TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) - Texarkana leaders from both Arkansas and Texas gathered Wednesday, March 29 to further address what they say is a tainted batch of K2, or synthetic marijuana, in the area.

“We got a serious issue in our city right now we need to address. We are losing citizens because of this certain drug,” said Texarkana, Ark. Mayor Allen Brown.

On March 20, KSLA first reported four deaths as a result of the drug. Now, that number has increased to seven deaths and 17 overdose emergency calls.

“These were all accidental overdoses. These were not intended for self harm or suicidal acts. This has become a local public health emergency,” said Dr. Matt Young with the Bowie County Health Authority.

“This is one pill. The overdose is in regard to the substance that is in the pill, not an amount to the substance that is ingested or taken,” said Texarkana Texas Police Department Chief Kevin Schutte.

Dr. Young says law enforcement and and the medical community have begun an awareness campaign, “One Pill Can Kill”, on the K-2 danger. Officials say 35 is the average age of those who have been affected by the drug.

“We need to communicate this message across every strata of our society. We are taking risk that we don’t need to be taking,” said Texarkana Arkansas Police Department Chief Michael Kramm.

Police encouraged residents to call for emergency help if they suspect someone has overdose on K2, or any other drug. They say no one will be arrested; they just want to save lives.

“One pill can kill. One hit can kill, and these dangerous and illicit drugs are in our area,” Dr. Young said.

Police say they’re working with federal authorities to try to determine how the tainted drug made its way into the area.