DC Officials Warning of Possible Death from Dangerous Batch of K2

Washington, DC (July 18, 2018) – District officials are sounding the alarm about the spike of overdoses from persons smoking or ingesting K2 or Spice, a dangerous synthetic drug that is often packaged as potpourri or incense.  DC paramedics and police have responded to more than 25 overdoses today and more than 100 in the past two weeks.  Authorities are also investigating whether four deaths in the city could be linked to the drug. Today, three people were found unconscious and transported to the hospital.  Officials believe there is a bad batch of K2 in the area and are warning residents to stay clear.

So what is K2 or Spice.  Here are some quick facts from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

K2 or Spice is a mixture of herbs, spices or shredded plant material that is typically sprayed with synthetic compounds known as cannabinoids that are chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Although these products are often marketed as “safe” alternatives to marijuana, they may affect the brain much more powerfully than marijuana. Their effects can be unpredictable and severe.

What does it look like?
K2 is typically sold in small, silvery plastic bags of dried leaves and marketed as incense that can be smoked. It resembles potpourri.

How is it used?
K2 products are smoked in joints or pipes, but some users make it into a tea. They are also sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices (liquid incense).

If you see signs of an overdose, call 911. Overdose signs include collapse, unconsciousness, vomiting, and physical aggression.


  • Seek substance use disorder treatment:
  • Call the Assessment and Referral Center (The ARC) at 202-727-8473
  • Get connected to behavioral health services:
  • Call the 24/7 Access HelpLine at 1-888-793-4357 Contact an outreach worker:
  • 202-442-4634 (DHS) or 202-673-9124 (DBH) SEE SOMETHING? SAY SOMETHING!


Renee Nash

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Renee Nash, Director of Information and Public Affairs for WHUR, is a well-respected journalist who has covered a range of issues from local and national politics, to healthcare reform and civil rights. She has also spearheaded numerous award-winning projects including radiothons, town hall meetings and food and clothing drives. Over her 25-year career at WHUR, she has been a writer, reporter, producer and anchor. Renee serves on the boards of many organizations including the Edith P. Wright Breast Cancer Foundation and Sisters of Hope. She is the proud mom of Dominique and Delante.

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