WASHINGTON -- There is another dangerous wave of K2 on D.C.’s streets. The problem is so bad, D.C. may break its own K2 overdose record.
That’s exactly why instead of going out with friends on a Friday night, seven D.C. employees hit the streets of Northeast, D.C.
WUSA9 heard the frustration.
“But you can’t talk to her – these guys won’t let you talk to her. They won’t let you talk to her for some reason, I don’t know,” said Assata Tafari, a DC Department of Behavioral Health Lead Community Outreach Specialist.
There was even more persistence.
“I think maybe because it’s cheap, that’s a good reason. But honestly, I don’t know. It hit us really fast so, we’re also trying to figure it out as we go as well,” Tafari told WUSA9.
She and the team walked up North Capitol Street NE until they found a small group of men then know.
“I know ya’ll probably got the K2 alert information,” said Tafari.
Two months ago, DC topped 3,000 K2 overdoses for the first time since 2015, according to DC Fire and EMS.
First responders are dealing with another synthetic drug spike in the District. The impact so bad, at least 11 people basically overdosed at once after smoking a bad batch last July.
DC Fire saw another spike just a few days ago.
That’s why, Assata Tafari and her team hit one of D.C.’s known “hot spots” on Friday: North Capital & P Streets NE.
Click here to view a map of the overdose locations DC Fire and EMS responded to so far this month.
That’s where the Department of Behavioral Health outreach team says you’re bound to find dealers and users smoking K2.
“Yeah. How ya’ll doing,” said Tafari addressing another group of people.
Spice, Scooby Snax – even Mr. Happy are all other names for Synthetic Marijuana, according to the CDC. Even the name "synthetic marijuana," by the way, is said to be a big problem.
Eric Chapman, one of the outreach team members, is the Substance Abuse Disorder Prevention Branch Chief with the DBH.
“The common belief at the period of time was that it was a fake weed. The challenge is really that composition of it is unknown. It’s not regulated. And so folks really don’t know what they are digesting when they consume K2,” said Chapman.
The group said one of the populations most impacted by K2 is D.C.’s homeless population.
They group’s goal is to build trust.
“Some of us even live in these communities. It’s personal for us as well,” said Tafari.
“Just to let them know that when you are ready, we’re right around the corner to give some help,” added Chapman.
That team is just one of several outreach teams working across the city to fight drugs on D.C.’s streets. DC Fire said so far this year, nearly 3,400 people have overdosed. Just to help paint a picture, that’s some 60 charter busses full of people.
According to DC Fire and EMS records, first responders rushed to 3,307 K2 overdoses from April - December 2015, 2,677 K2 overdoses in all of 2016, 2,136 K2 overdoses in all of 2017 and at least 3,369 K2 overdoses so far this year.