After a week of 130 suspected overdoses in New York City, synthetic marijuana such as K2 and spice will be banned from the city. Regardless of the decrease in K2-related emergency room visits from last years rate, there still remains thousands of accounts. Since 2015, more than 6,000 synthetic drug related emergency department visits have been reported as well as two confirmed deaths.
News reports and cops citywide reported an outbreak of overdoses in Brooklyn. Victims appeared lying on sidewalks, shaking and stumbling against trees and fire hydrants in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood. Many have described it as a scene out a zombie movie as several bodies were laid out on the sidewalk.
So, what is K2? K2 is synthetic cannabinoid. It is known for is strength and has be described as 100 times as potent as THC. The synthetic drug can be rolled into a joint and sold for $1. That is about five times less than a marijuana joint. K2 can be made by spraying various legal chemicals onto plants. Afterward, it is ground up and smoked. K2 is popular among low-income neighborhoods and among the homeless population, especially in New York.
According to a previous user, K2 has mind-altering abilities. It changes the individual’s complete perspective putting them into a delusional world. The drug is responsible for a rise in use and overdoses and linked to a spike in violent crime.
Other outcomes such as seizures, confusion, hallucinations, psychotic episodes, and rapid heart rates are also not uncommon. The police have re-named the drug “weaponized marijuana” because of its strong link to violent crimes. Other cities across the country are implementing stores and homeless shelters in attempt to curb and inform possible users.
Senator Chuck Schumer believes that the best way to stop this issue is through tighter legislation. Schumer thinks a ban will help federal agents stem the tide of synthetic drug use across the country. Schumer aims to add more chemicals to the list of controlled substances, making it more difficult to create and distribute these harmful substances. The bill would ban substances including three derivatives of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid and 1 others that are used in efforts to mimic the main psychoactive ingredient of marijuana.
The outbreak of overdoses and hospitalizations from K2 are causing great concern for cities across the United States. Especially in lower income neighborhood, synthetic pot is seen as a serious threat to peoples lives and wellbeing. As this story makes it way around the world, we can only hope for an improvement in outcomes and an increase in awareness.