33 Hospitalized After Calls About Mass K2 Overdose in NYC | NBC 10 Philadelphia
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33 Hospitalized After Calls About Mass K2 Overdose in NYC

The NYPD said that at least five were reportedly smoking the cheap synthetic cannabinoid commonly called K2

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    Thirty-three people were taken to the hospital Tuesday morning after authorities responded to calls of people overdosing on K2 near a Brooklyn intersection that has been called one of the worst spots in New York City for synthetic drug use.

    Authorities said the victims were taken to Woodhull and Wyckohoff hospitals after authorities were called to the scene near Broadway and Myrtle Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

    Authorities said that it wasn't clear what drug the people who were transported to hospitals had ingested, but the NYPD said that at least five were reportedly smoking the cheap synthetic cannabinoid commonly called K2 outside a building on Stockton Street. 

    The woman who called 911 to report the men smoking told NBC 4 New York they were vomiting and urinating. Witnesses told DNAinfo that the victims collapsed on the sidewalk and subway platforms. 

    "When they smoke that stuff, they drop like flies," another neighbor who gave his name as Chino told NBC 4 New York. 

    Others said use of K2 in that part of Brooklyn is out of control. Residents have even posted warning signs reading "No Smoking K2." 

    "It's gotten out of hand," said Dennis Gonzalez of Bushwick. "They even sleep in the street, we have to walk around them. It's just too much to keep under control." 

    Earlier this year, DNAinfo reported that the area around the intersection was becoming a hotbed for K2 use. The site reported that stores in the area were selling the drug even though it was outlawed by the city in 2015.

    Since 2015, there have been more than 6,000 K2-related emergency room visits in New York City, according to the city's health department. There have been two confirmed deaths associated with the drug. 

    The city cracked down on the drug last year, making it a crime to sell K2. But Fin Perez, a self-proclaimed addict who has gone to the emergency room from using the drug, said it hasn't deterred anyone. 

    "Certain stores that sell it, they have guys that walk around and sell it because they know police are here watching the stores," he said. "So they got guys walking around, two to three streets away. Everyone knows who the guys are." 

    State Sen. Jeff Klein has proposed legislation that bans chemicals that mimic controlled subtances as they are tweaked, so that the state "stays ahead of the chemists' curve" and that laws can't be subverted. The bill has passed the Senate, but stalled in the Assembly.