Problems dealing with the synthetic drug K2 is growing in the city of Dallas and there is proof the issue is too big for one agency alone to solve.
In September, at least seven different agencies came together to discuss an action plan. A month later, changes have already been made within the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Department and Dallas Fire-Rescue.
After an exhaustive search, EMS coordinators found their emergency calls numbers went up. Paramedics responded to 392 K2-related calls in June, 425 in July and 428 in August.
Dallas Fire-Rescue also revised their patient tracking system.
"We asked our software vendor to place a button on our software that paramedics can easily click on when they suspect a patient may be under the influence of K2,” Dallas Fire-Rescue Medical Director Dr. Marshal Isaacs said.
The new data will help paramedics know where to focus their resources. In months past, K2 put resources in crisis mode for first responders in Dallas.
“When there are more patients ingesting K2 and we have to respond to them and make sure that they are well taken care of, but that means there are less rescues, less paramedics and fire fighters to take of what we exist for. To take care of patients with heart attacks, strokes, car crashes, major trauma,” Isaacs said.
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In early September, the hardest hit areas were in downtown Dallas and pockets of south Dallas. According to police, drug deals and medical help were called in constantly from the West End DART Station. DART police and Dallas police narcotics officers have focused on identifying dealers downtown and getting them off the streets.
“In the case of the West End we have officers assigned down there,” DART Deputy Police Chief Matt Walling said. “We have placed officers there permanently. They work out of there on foot patrols. Sometimes we use overtime to address the problem areas. Another problem area is the Morrell Dart Station. The neighborhoods around Morrell have become really a hot spot for K2 sales."