Experts say chemically-laced drugs rising in Conn.

This photo shows a package of K2 which contains herbs and spices sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. (AP Photo/Kelley McCall)

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH)– For several years now the emergency room at Lawrence & Memorial has seen people come in, suffering different effects of the synthetic marijuana K2. But in the last six to twelve months those numbers have been even higher.

A spike in illnesses from what has become a more dangerous drug.

Cathy Zall, executive director at the New London Homeless Hospitality Center says, “unfortunately there do seem to be a number of people who are using it. We find the packages that it comes in around.”

But those who use New London’s Homeless Hospitality Center are only part of the synthetic pot population. The equalizing factor among all users no matter what they’re background is the danger because the drug seems to affect different people differently.

Zall says, “some people it may just be like smoking marijuana but other people it creates severe health problems. We’ve had people ending up in the emergency room, in intensive care, and for some people it exacerbates mental health issues.”

Even though it has been outlawed in the state since 2011 it seems to be available. Last week a clerk at the DB Mart in New London was arrested for selling K2. Police seized 145 bags of it.

There are number of reasons people seem to be seeking out his dangerous high.

“It could be price. It could be that it’s harder to detect the use of K2 with various drug tests that people take. It could just be availability. It’s hard to say what leads people to something as dangerous as this,” says Zall.

What may also make K2 more undetectable in certain drug tests is that we’re told manufacturers often change the formula somewhat. But that can also make it more unpredictable and dangerous.

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