- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Agencies that serve downtown Tulsa’s homeless population say they’ve witnessed an increase in a drug known to cause erratic and violent behavior among some users - and several of the shelters say they’ll suspend services to anyone who is under the influence of it.

The substance, known as “K2” or “spice,” started off as a type of synthetic marijuana, but it’s become a drug with unpredictable side effects.

“It’s been a long time since the PCP days, when we had the problem of naked people running around delusional and acting in ways that are harmful to themselves and those around them,” said the Rev. Steve Whitaker, CEO of the John 3:16 Mission. “K2 can have a PCP-type of effect. Some of the K2 derivatives … make people act in very aggressive manners. We see people act in very aggressive, very violently ways and even acting out sexually.”

Because of the unpredictable nature of the drug, several downtown agencies are refusing services to people who abuse it in order to protect other homeless people in shelters and staff members at the facilities, the Tulsa World reported Wednesday (https://bit.ly/1l4us5R ).

Tanya Moore, director of finance and administration with the Iron Gate soup kitchen, said problems with K2 abuse have become more rampant in the past six months to a year.

Moore said she hopes the effort by the downtown agencies will cause the community to realize the problem.

“It’s not just affecting our population; it’s affecting everyone,” she said. “It’s being seen in the high school and college population. We just happen to be a group of agencies that are being hit pretty hard by it and want the community to know what’s going on and bring people’s attention to it.”

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Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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