New York City – Authorities took 33 people to a hospital in Brooklyn for an apparent drug overdose. The police suspect K2, also known as synthetic cannabis, was involved.

Neighbors of Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn woke up on Tuesday to a weird panorama. Dozens of young people were lying on the streets, leaning on trees, fire hydrants and walls. According to witnesses, their behavior was erratic, and some of them were even shaking. As a result, the emergency hotlines were really busy as people called in to report the event.

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At least 33 people in Brooklyn were hospitalized for synthetic cannabis, or K2, overdose. Credit: NBC New York

The authorities arrived the corner to see a rather untasteful, but familiar scene. At the moment, pretty much everybody knew there was some kind of drug involved, and police officers immediately called it a K2 overdose case. Law enforcers in the United States have been dealing with the nasty effects of the drug, most commonly known as synthetic marijuana, and many television shows have addressed the situation in the past.

According to Dennis Gonzalez, who is a Bushwick neighbor, the locals have to deal regularly with addicts sleeping in the streets which highlight the severity of the problem in the area.

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K2, also known as synthetic cannabinoids, is a chemically prepared drug, different from marijuana, but called similar as some users have said it gives the effects of cannabis. Credit: NY Post

There are many reasons why drug addicts prefer K2

K2 is an artificial recreational drug, a lot of people misleadingly call it synthetic marijuana. In fact, people report that dealers offer it as a simple drug that has the same effects than cannabis which is not true at all. Scientists have said the nickname is pretty devious, and instead call it synthetic cannabinoid. However, the effects are much stronger and way more unpredictable.

Even pot smokers advise against this kind of product, but in spite of this, drug addicts simply see too many benefits to it. For instance, regular drug screening cannot detect it, so they can use it without worrying about losing their jobs. Also, the drug is much stronger than the natural alternative which makes it appealing to the user, and more importantly, it’s easy to get. There are physical and on-line shops that sell the drug disguised as incense or collectable items.

The drug comes in many presentations with colorful packaging and creative names, but the most common of them all is “Spice.” A quick Google search will tell anyone where to get it, and it seems like a company called “legal herb budz” is the most common on-line provider.

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Bag of K2 from the well-known brand Spice. Credit: Wikipedia

It is very different from pot

According to the reports, K2 comes in various forms. In fact, the name is attributed to any chemical drug used to “enhance” other drugs. Scientists say marijuana leaves are sprayed with the chemical or submerged in it for it to soak the component. Then, the dealers just follow standard pot preparing protocols. But that’s where the similarities end.

Specialists have classified K2 as a psychoactive. This kind of drugs can cause permanent damage to people’s brains from the first use. So it’s no wonder that users develop psychosis or other mental disorder. The drug disconnects them from reality.

Authorities have been working closely with the community to stop the trade, but there are many factors that keep them from doing it effectively. There are no effective screening processes, and providers always find a loophole in the law to sell it legally. For example, some of the products will be sold as “collectable items,” and the dealers get away with it because the package indicates it is not meant for human consumptions and “warns” about the dangers of doing so.

How easy is to get it?

If someone wants to buy it, he or she just has to Google where to get it, and that would be pretty much it. A potential customer will be presented with many options, but the drug usually comes in little Zip-lock alike bags colorfully labeled with the brand of the company.  Every bag usually contains 3 grams of something that really looks like cannabis. Depending on the amount and quality, a person will end up paying $50 to $70 per bag, so yes, it is kind of expensive. The high price has created a whole new fake industry, and as a result, there are dozens of blogs that redirect people to reliable providers.

In some parts of the country, the drug was being even sold in public kiosks at daylight until 2014 when law enforcers rammed the K2 industry. However, lawmakers are having a lot of problems addressing the situation. Every time they ban a component, manufacturers will just replace it with a similar one and sell it as incense or something like that. It also comes as a spray which should be an indicator for customers that it is very different from cannabis.

Source: Fox News