MINNEAPOLIS - Three people have been arrested and face charges in connection with an explosion of October overdoses blamed on the synthetic marijuana product commonly known as K2.
Minneapolis Police spokesperson officer Cory Schmidt confirmed the arrests. It was originally reported, seven people were arrested. That has been lowered to three.
“For this case we seized what we think is a significant amount of K2,” said Sgt. Darcy Klund, who oversaw the K2 investigation. “We did countless hours of surveillance, and just our boots on the ground led to enough information to secure search warrants for the vehicle and parties involved.”
HCMC EMS crews and doctors saw 128 overdoses of the drug in a three week period, all clustered in a neighborhood near 16th and Chicago. An unprecedented spike strained ambulance services and emergency room resources. The Minnesota Poison Control Center oversaw the cases.
“I am 100 percent positive the majority of these patients did not intend to overdose, so there is a baseline public health risk to people in the using community,” said Jon Cole, Minnesota Poison Control Center medical director and toxicologist. “They would be comatose one minute and wild and agitated and uncontrollable the next, and certainly not of sound mind.”
“One of the scary things too, is for heroin we have a blocking agent, Naloxone, but there is no blocking this, we have to sedate them where we can control their behavior by sedating them,” said Mike Trullinger, Hennepin Emergency Medical Services deputy chief. “That is how serious this is.”
HCMC doctors noticed around the time police announced seizures the overdose numbers started to fall.
There were no fatalities.
“Anything we can do to get an unpredictable drug of abuse causing hospitalizations out of our community from a poison control standpoint is a really good thing,” said Cole.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s office will review charges for the three people arrested.