ST. LOUIS • Sitting on the foundation of a long-gone building, on an overgrown lot where the city’s homeless go to get high or hook up, Para Battle needs a fix of K2.
It’s a weekday, a little before noon, in a forgotten part of town a half-mile north of the heart of the city’s loft district.
She is talking fast, her eyes focused on nothing in particular.
“I got to have it every hour, every hour,” Battle, 40, said. “It makes me sick if I don’t have it.”
K2 is the common name for synthetic cannabinoids, often referred to as fake weed. It comes in hundreds of forms and its makeup changes often, usually to stay one step ahead of law enforcement. Once an ingredient is outlawed, K2 makers simply come up with a new recipe.
Adding to their concern is a deadly recipe that hospitalized a man in St. Louis for six days last month and is sweeping through Illinois, where three people have died and 123 others have been admitted for medical treatment. Tests have confirmed the deadly batch is made with an anticoagulant commonly found in rat poison, leading to excessive bleeding that can only be stopped by prolonged medical treatment.