Downtown drug overdoses costing upwards of $60,000; total climbs - KMOV.com

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Downtown drug overdoses costing upwards of $60,000; total climbs to 80+

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Emergency crews tending to an overdose victim near the NLEC. Emergency crews tending to an overdose victim near the NLEC.
Emergency crews tending to an overdose victim near the NLEC. Emergency crews tending to an overdose victim near the NLEC.
Police escorting suspect into police vehicle following string of drug overdoses. Police escorting suspect into police vehicle following string of drug overdoses.
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

There were 35 reported drug overdoses Thursday with 26 being transported to an area hospital due to K-2, a synthetic marijuana.

At least 26 people overdosed Wednesday near the New Life Evangelistic Center (NLEC) with 5 being hospitalized, after there were 23 reported cases of drug overdoses on Monday in the same area.  

In total, there have been more than 80 overdoses in the downtown area this week.

Each overdose is costing taxpayers a minimum of $600 bringing the total for the week to over $60,000.

Three individuals were taken in to custody by police on Wednesday. However, police were not sure if any crime was committed, since the changing chemical makeup of K-2 seems to stay ahead of Missouri law. 

"I got a call, in fact, from the police chief who was passing by this area and reported multiple people down from what appeared to be overdoses," Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said on Wednesday. "When we got on the scene we had approximately eight people down in some sort of overdose type state."

St. Louis City EMS said that the majority of the overdose victims are homeless.

"It's causing devastating effects on these people and we're trying to get a handle on how they're getting it and who they're getting it from because we want to shut them down," Jenkerson said. "It's knocking them down hard, and it's the homeless people, it's some of the most vulnerable people of our population."

Jenkerson said the overdose victims looked to have come from the NLEC, and he does not believe the drug is being bought, but rather given to them.

According the St. Louis EMS, there is speculation the drug is coming from the NLEC, but there is no proof at this time.  

Leaders of the NLEC are expected to address the issue at a press conference Thursday afternoon. Homeless people are also planning to speak at the event to discuss the growing number of homeless people sleeping on area sidewalks.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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