What to Know
- Police swarmed bodegas and delis in Brooklyn Wednesday, looking for stores illegally selling K2
- The crackdown comes a day after 33 people were hospitalized after getting sick on a potent strain of K2 at a Brooklyn intersection
- The city says there have been more than 6,000 K2-related emergency room visits in NYC since 2015
Police and sheriff's deputies swarmed the bodegas of Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn Wednesday, looking for stores selling the city's most notorious drug, K2.
The crackdown happened one day after 33 people were hospitalized amid 911 calls of people overdosing on K2 at a Brooklyn intersection.
"All you see was people laid out in the street, walking, staggering all over the place," witness Brian Arthur recounted of the alarming scene at Broadway and Myrtle Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant Tuesday.
Authorities said dozens had smoked a potent strain of K2, known as synthetic marijuana or "spice." They're widely available in packets for as little as a dollar, and was commonly sold in bodegas until the city made it illegal to sell last year.
"Thirty-plus people overdosing on K2 is a throwback to when we had crack dens spread throughout this community," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Adams and other neighborhood volunteers took to the streets Wednesday to chant about the dangers of K2 and hand out flyers warning families.
The synthetic marijuana, or "spice," is widely available in packets for as little as a dollar, and was commonly sold in bodegas until the city made it illegal to sell last year.
Fin Perez, an admitted K2 user who used to be homeless, says "95 percent of the people who smoke K2 learned it from a shelter."
Drug treatment counselors say hospitals and first responders need to learn what to look for.
"When a person comes in looking zombie-like, paranoid, they don't get mistaken for someone who is mentally ill, they get ID'd as someone using K2," said Warren Zysman of ACI Drug Treatment.
Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated Wednesday that selling K2 is against city law, and stores found doing so will face consequences.
"We will throw the book at anyone selling K2," he said.