What to Know
Men staying in a Bronx homeless shelter said they heard the intersection was the best place to find K2 in the city
Police have issued hundreds of summonses to store owners
It's illegal to sell or possess the drug K2 in New York
A street corner in Brooklyn is one of the worst spots in the city for synthetic marijuana use, with users lighting up in broad daylight, passing out on sidewalks and stumbling out into traffic, according to reports.
Even longtime residents of Bed-Stuy and Bushwick say drug use at the intersection of Broadway and Myrtle Avenue has reached “epidemic” levels. One man said: “I’ve lived here for more than 20 years, and it’s terrible now.”
Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, is illegal to sell in New York City under legislation passed last fall amid a spike in use. But stores near Broadway and Myrtle are still dealing it — police have reportedly issued hundreds of summonses to store owners, according to a report in DNAinfo New York.
Men staying in a Bronx homeless shelter said they heard the intersection was the best place to find K2 in the city. Lately, locals have been complaining about quality-of-life issues associated with the drug.
“It’s always been a busy area, but this is a persistent, daily occurrence that has only appeared within the past year or so,” longtime resident Lindsay Foehrenbach, 38, told DNAinfo.
Foehrenbach said she had to pull one man to safety after he walked into a semi-truck.
New York City health officials issued warnings last spring after synthetic marijuana sent 160 people to hospitals in a little over a week. Thousands more were hospitalized statewide. Mayor de Blasio signed a bill banning the sale of the drug in October. At that time, the intersection of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street was considered the epicenter of the K2 problem.
Now it appears the drug has taken hold in Brooklyn. Residents told DNAinfo that K2 packages litter the sidewalks and a burning chemical odor fills the air near the Broadway-Myrtle intersection.
“It’s an epidemic, every borough, every hood. Just look at the people on the corner, they look like zombies,” Trevor Tyrrell told DNAinfo.
Last month a man with a dagger was shot and wounded by police in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn. Investigators said he may have been under the influence of K2.
An I-Team investigation in December found that the drug was becoming increasingly common among teens across the tri-state area.
One teen who was at a rehab center at the time described the drug as a “big blackout.”
“You don’t even know what’s happening. All you know is your heart is beating very fast,” he said.
Police have busted several K2 rings. In November, four men were arrested in connection with a plot to make synthetic pot — a scheme that would have amounted to $27 million of K2 on the street, authorities said. That month, two alleged ringleaders of the largest synthetic marijuana ring in New York City history were arrested in Dubai. Police said a related raid uncovered warehouses full of K2 and dozens of stores selling the drug to teens and others. In September, 80 locations were raided and four people were arrested in a federal investigation.
It is illegal to possess, sell or manufacture synthetic marijuana in New York state.