DALLAS — News 8 has learned of what may be the first death ever linked medically to the drug K2.
Texas Health Dallas confirms 19-year-old Dominique Darrell Tate died at the hospital Friday. Tate — who also called himself "Deezy" — had posted on his Facebook page as recently as early Friday morning.
By 11:30 that night, there were "RIP" messages from friends saying they didn't understand why he had to die.
The medical examiner confirms to News 8 that the Lake Highlands High School graduate has a history of K2 use.
K2 is a mixture of herbs and spices which is then sprayed with a chemical agent similar to marijuana that makes people high. People who smoke the synthetic herbal concoction claim it has 10 times the potency of pot.
In most areas, K2 is completely legal to purchase and use.
"Any of the herbal substances are really dangerous," said drug counselor Tony Peniston. "There's been cases of people becoming toxic from them."
K2 is illegal in the state of Kansas. Plano, McKinney, Allen, Mansfield, Justin and Frisco have also banned the substance and Dallas is considering doing the same.
If toxicology results confirm K2, Tate's would be the first death in the country known to be connected with K2.
K2 is linked to hallucinations, but no one knows what other affects it could have on the human body. For example, can it cause seizures, respiratory distress, or heart attack.
This case — if K2 is determined to be the cause — could help health experts figure that out.
The medical examiner won't rule on a cause of death until toxicology results are back, and that could take up to 12 weeks.
There is currently only one other reported death linked to the drug K2. In June, police in Iowa said David Rozga committed suicide after having a panic attack. Rozga had been smoking K2 with friends just before the attack.
Rozga's death prompted the governor of Iowa to issue a statewide warning about the drug's use and its potential dangers.
Studies of K2 have determined it is addictive. Other reported symptoms include:
* higher heart rate
* loss of consciousness
* psychotic episodes
State Sen. Florence Shapiro is working on legislation to ban the drug statewide.
by JANET ST. JAMES
August 10, 2010
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Dallas teen's death could be linked to K2 use