At least 17 people were hospitalized Tuesday morning in Brooklyn after apparently overdosing on synthetic marijuana, also known as spice or K2, DNAInfo reports.
Around 9:30 in the morning, a group of people in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood became violently ill after smoking the drug, some vomiting or having trouble breathing, others passing out in the street. The NYPD believes that a local store, Big Boy Deli, supplied the toxic batch of K2 that ended up sending users to nearby Wyckoff Heights and Woodhull hospitals.
Synthetic marijuana is legal in many states, and it has no chemical resemblance to actual marijuana. It's a cheap way to get high, and therefore popular among poorer drug users—including the homeless—but it can cause psychotic episodes and be extremely addictive. New York finally decided to outlaw the sale and production of the drug back in October.
Since then, the city has seen a steep decline in K2-related emergency visits, dropping 85 percent from last July, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio's office.
But while the mayor may believe New York is winning the war on K2, Bed-Stuy—where Tuesday's overdoses took place—has reportedly reached epidemic levels of synthetic marijuana use.
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