What to Know
- The number of overdoses from synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, in five different Brooklyn locations has increased to 56 confirmed cases
- NYPD Chief Terence Monahan announced Tuesday that the overdoses that have occurred in Brooklyn since Saturday have occurred in 5 locations
- Four out of the five locations are local shelters, authorities say, adding they are getting the word out to warn the community
The number of overdoses from synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, in five different Brooklyn locations has increased to 56 confirmed cases, law enforcement officials say.
NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan announced Tuesday that the overdoses that have taken place in Brooklyn since Saturday have occurred in five different locations, with four of them being local shelters.
Monahan said that the NYPD is working on getting the word out to the community and the shelter personnel to let them know of the danger.
“We have been in contact with the shelter system to let them know that a dangerous batch of K2 is out there,” he said.
The health department says there were 84 emergency department visits across New York City related to K2 between May 19 and May 21, clustered in Brooklyn and centering in Bushwick-Williamsburg. That's the largest number of K2-related emergency department visits in a three-day period since July 2016.
Though the authorities are trying to find the source of the tainted K2 in Brooklyn, they do not want it to expand to other parts of the city.
“We took down a major case in 2016, which curtailed a lot of the K2 in the city. There seems to be something uprising right now, so with our investigators…we are going to be working on the sources,” Monahan said, adding that the 2016 case was also out of the same Brooklyn area and because of this authorities are looking at a possible connection.
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Though the tainted batch has proven to be a health hazard, authorities are also trying to piece together what the batch is laced with.
“Every K2 has a different chemical composition,” Monahan explained, adding that the K2 seized in the related cases “is in the lab right now – we’re trying to figure out what it is.”
He also said that some of the envelopes used for the K2 have the word “Smack” on them, which leads authorities to believe that are coming from the same source.
The majority of the sales are being made on the streets, although Monahan said.
Chief Dermont Shea recounted that in the last two days, NYPD conducted a dozen K2-related arrests in Brooklyn with eight of the 12 arrests stem from selling K2.
Shae reminded parents to be vigilant when it comes to their children because some of the packages used for K2 are designed in a way that children would gravitate toward them by the use of cartoons and vibrant colors.
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“It’s a danger to all,” Shea said.
Shea also urged the community to call Crimestoppers if they have any information related to K2, whether it is individual selling on the streets or stores selling the drug.
On Tuesday, the New York City Department of Health also issued a warning for New Yorkers not to use the synthetic drug following the cluster of overdoses over the past few days.
“The surge in K2 overdoses is a reminder that the effects of K2 are unpredictable and dangerous,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement. “We want all New Yorkers to be aware of the serious side effects of K2, which include severe anxiety, confusion, fainting, vomiting, rapid heart rate, and, in rare cases, death."