Synthetic Marijuana Reactions Hit Homeless in St. Paul

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Over and over again, St. Paul paramedics and EMTs have responded to people having bad reactions after apparently smoking synthetic marijuana. Some have been unconscious, some vomiting and others in a catatonic state, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The medical calls keeping the fire department busy are happening in the downtown area where many homeless people get services. “We’ve seen any number of people collapse outside or down the street,” said Rosemarie Reger-Rumsey of the Listening House, a drop-in center. Reger-Rumsey’s concern led her to call a St. Paul police official last week and suggest they needed an emergency meeting, which is scheduled for today.

Exact numbers are hard to come by and officials don’t know precisely what chemicals are at work, but they said they’re looking for answers after seeing people having serious medical problems. No deaths have been reported. The fire department responded to 56 calls in one area in a 14-day period ending last Thursday, said Matt Simpson, assistant fire chief of EMS operations. Not all the incidents were drug related, but “a large percentage were reported to be and people were referencing K2,” Simpson said. There are hundreds of different kinds of synthetic marijuana, which people call K2 or Spice, and the symptoms vary.

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