TMZ reports that the Massachusetts Medical Examiner’s office stated that the toxicology report on Aaron Hernandez is still incomplete. Although Newsweek reported last week that K2 was found in the former football player’s system, the medical examiner’s office surmised it was simply a rumor.
The medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Aaron Hernandez reportedly confirmed on Tuesday that the former NFL star indeed had K2, also known as synthetic marijuana, in his system when he committed suicide.
Newsweek reports that Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for murder at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center (SBCC) in Shirley, Massachusetts, before he hung himself, had traces of the drug in his system, found during a kidney fluid screen.
Once authorities found out the autopsy results, State Police raided SBCC and performed a contraband search, specifically looking for paper-soaked K2. At least one prison official has been suspended after an investigation following Hernandez’s suicide.
K2, also known as spice, is a mix of different industrial chemicals which mimic the effects of THC. Once the chemicals are mixed, they’re generally sprayed onto leaf paper. K2 is banned in the U.S., but remains a popular alternative to marijuana since it’s cheap and relatively easy to buy. Side effects of the synthetic drug can be severe. According to The National Center and Addiction and Substance abuse, people who use K2 run the risk of delusions, hallucinations, anxiety, rapid heart rate, vomiting, and a combative nature.
It’s still unclear exactly how Hernandez obtained K2 while in prison, but there’s been speculation that it was mailed to him. Officials said that liquid K2 can be dropped onto paper and sent via U.S. to a recipient in prison, sometimes without detection.
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Aaron Hernandez is one among many public sports figures connected with using synthetic marijuana. Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones was hospitalized in 2016 after a severe, negative reaction to the drug. Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche also had a bad experience after taking the drug. He thought someone was chasing him in an Atlanta hotel. He ended up falling 15 feet from a hotel window. A bush broke his fall and likely saved his life.
[Feature Photo: AP: Josh Reynolds/The Boston Globe, Pool]