Anchorage Tries to Stop K2 Spice Use
A two day meeting was held in Anchorage, Alaska last week that was held in an effort to address the rising use of K2 Spice. The meeting last Thursday and Friday was held as part of the Municipal Synthetic Cannabinoid Working Group and was attended by city officials, first responders and social service providers who frequently encounter individuals under the influence of this dangerous drug.
“We thought it was really important to set time aside to bring all those stakeholders from the community together to have a dialogue about the current situation, evaluate what’s been effective, and where we go from here,” said Chris Tolley, chief of the Anchorage Police Department. Tolley is well versed in the movement to eradicate Spice in the Anchorage when he worked with the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The rampant use of K2 Spice in Anchorage has done quite a number on the residents with up to 30 people requiring medical attention after using it. To gain insight into exactly how much the drug has impacted the city, the Anchorage Fire Department reviewed how many medical transports were conducted as a result of its use. The results were startling, showing that 11.5% of transports conducted between July 18, 2015 and January 24, 2016 were due to suspected Spice use. So, out of the 10,495 medical transports, 1,215 were due to the synthetic cannabinoid.
Despite the great efforts made by Anchorage officials, law enforcement and medical/emergency personnel to protect residents from Spice, the progress is slow and leading many to think that the problem is going to be long term.
Sergeant Jack Carson of the Anchorage Police Department is in the trenches of the battles against Spice and is familiar with the frustrating fight to keep his fellow residents safe. He said, “This drug is here…to stay…We’ve got to learn how to live with it.”
How long and in what capacity Anchorage will have to “live with” Spice remains to be seen. However, the work being done to ban the many chemicals used during the manufacturing process and criminalizing its distribution are certainly thought to help. The medical side of this intervention is still lagging behind for the most part due in large part to the difficulties faced when trying to determine the use of the drug by way of a reliable K2 Spice drug test given the ever changing chemical chemical compositions. There are solutions to that dilemma available at the Health Street drug testing facility located in Anchorage, though.