St. Louis emergency responders report a spike in synthetic drug overdoses downtown

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - Nearly two dozen people were treated for drug overdoses over a 24-hour period Monday and Tuesday, according to St. Louis Fire Department officials.

Captain Garon Mosby said 18 of the 23 overdoses are from the synthetic drug known as K2.

“One of the challenges in treating these overdoses with the synthetic is first of all, the Narcan we use on regular heroin or opioid-based drugs does not work,” said Mosby, Tuesday night.

Mosby said many of the overdose victims are homeless people, and many of the overdoses took place within a several block radius of 14th and Locust.

Mosby said, “I will say in times past the downtown area I mentioned before was hit hard.  It seems to hit our homeless population for whatever reason.  The synthetic would be cheaper than the real thing.”

Captain Mosby says the overdoses are generally characterized by seizures and violence.

“One of the challenges for our medics upon arriving is determining that what they are treating is indeed a synthetic overdose.  A lot of times the patient will have a seizure.  We respond to seizures, but it could be induced by this synthetic drug.  We're treating higher body temperatures, hyperthermia is very common.  And the patients seems to be very combative.”

City officials are formulating a plan to combat this spike in overdoses.  They plan to announce details Wednesday or Thursday.