COLUMBIA, Mo. – Columbia police and medics continued Thursday to respond to overdoses from synthetic marijuana after authorities reported about a dozen cases Wednesday.
Police were called at about 10 a.m. Thursday to Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church, which also operates a homeless shelter.
Police said they will be heavily patrolling the area and that they have received numerous reports of people near the church who were "non-responsive, having a seizure, or in cardiac arrest."
In a press conference, Lt. Geoff Jones said, "we are going to find people selling it and arrest them."
Five or more overdose cases happened near the church between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Batches of synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, have been cited in mass overdoses similar to the cases in Columbia in several cities. Authorities also reported several overdoses concentrated around extended stay motels.
"Because it's out there in the community, but it's not just the homeless population," Lt. Jones said.
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According to the Drug Enforcement Administration misuse or abuse of the drug can cause health effects including anxiety, racing heartbeat and high blood pressure, intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Police say a type of synthetic marijuana, possibly laced with dangerous narcotics or even rat poison, is to blame for more than dozen overdose cases in Columbia.
The police department said in a news release that five of the cases occurred between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Other overdoses were reported at extended stay motels. Police say no deaths have occurred.
The Columbia Tribune reports all the overdoses were linked to a synthetic marijuana commonly known as K2, which is sold under several names.Police dont know the source of the substance.