On June 6, 2010, Indianola, Iowa, teen, David Rozga, 18, committed suicide after having a panic attack attributed to smoking K2 with his friends. After consumption, he told them that he was going to hell then went home where he shot and killed himself. His parents and the police place the blame for his actions on K2, because according to David’s parents, this was out of character.
This is the first death reported that might be directly linked to consuming K2, and has prompted the governor to issue a statewide warning about its use and potential dangers. Iowa lawmakers are also looking at how they can ban K2, following the steps of the increasing number of municipalities and states that have done so already.
People who have smoked the synthetic marijuana have reported such side effects as deep depression, hallucinations, feelings of impending death, and severe panic attacks, which may be what drove David Rozga to kill himself.
There has always been the danger of using an untested substitute and assuming that it will respond the same as the substance that it is supposed to imitate. Marijuana causes a phobia that users appear to enjoy, and depending on its grade, the quantity it takes to achieve the desired level of intoxication varies from person to person. The same holds true for using K2 whose potency is three to five times stronger than marijuana, warranting the consumption of a lesser amount, and new users do not know this. They just assume that smoking the same amount of K2 that they do of cannabis will yield the same results.
One of Rozga’s friends bought the K2 in Des Moines, since no store in Indianola sells it, and shared it with him. They consumed it together, but David was the only one to react so negatively. The purchase price for three grams of K2 typically is around the same as for marijuana, but K2 is legal to possess, not detectable by current tests, apparently has no age restriction, and its use will probably continue to rise nationally as the banning of K2 continues to spread.