SOME’s Response to the K2 Epidemic
September 14, 2018
Yesterday, the SOME community on O Street NW experienced an alarming event—over the course of the day there were a large number of K2 overdoses requiring the attendance of EMS and MPD. We know that similar incidences were occurring throughout the city, and while we don’t have final numbers, we know that there was a significant number of individuals affected and that there were fatalities.
K2 and other synthetic drug abuse is an epidemic in our city. Its cheapness and unpredictability make it highly dangerous and, as we’ve seen today, deadly, particularly among the vulnerable population that SOME serves.
The flagrant use of K2 and other drugs, as well other problematic activity has been skyrocketing on O Street this summer. As a leader in our community, we hold ourselves responsible for the safety of our clients, our staff, and our neighbors. We’d like to share the steps we are taking to address these issues:
- We are calling upon the District government and the MPD to address the worrying influx of K2 into our city and our community,
- We have relaunched the ABLE program, which opens the Dining Room between meal services for clients to get off the street and take part in various activities, and will be opening up the Dining Room earlier to allow those waiting to come off the street as well,
- We will be expanding our Public Safety team to provide extended and more comprehensive coverage of the SOME properties on O Street and adjacent areas, and
- We are creating an on-call clinician team from our Addictions Treatment Program to provide one clinician on call Monday through Friday at main SOME from 6:00-9:00 to help reach out to clients outside.
We know that we cannot solve this problem on our own. We will continue to work with the City and MPD and our neighboring organizations—Open Arms, House of Lebanon, and McClendon Center, etc.
Our priority remains removing our clients from those that prey on them, by opening the Dining Room outside of meal hours and encouraging them to enter the addictions program.