Drug Treatment Center CEO: Calling K2 Synthetic Marijuana Is 'Misleading'


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police were conducting raids at two delis in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Wednesday afternoon, in an effort to take control of the K2 crisis.

As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, police late Wednesday were searching the Big Boy Deli at Broadway and Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, in search of any sign that K2 was still being sold there.

Officers descended both on Big Boy several other businesses near the intersection.

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On Tuesday, police officers found themselves one person after another strung out on the cheap drug. Some could barely stand, and others were slumped over to the sidewalk.

A total of 33 people were put on stretchers and sent to the hospital in Bed-Stuy because of K2 on Tuesday alone.

The incident occurred in the the same area where CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported on the problem a few weeks ago.

On Wednesday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams passed out fliers warning people of the effects that K2 can have, and hoping to educate parents before the drug falls into the hands of their children.

Adams said the community needs to be proactive before the situation grows worse.

“Thirty-plus people overdosing on K2 is a throwback from the era when we had crack dens spread throughout this community,” Adams said. “We are not going backwards.”

Three people were arrested and charged in the deli raids, though none of the charges were connected to K2.

Khaled Alsaidi, 46, was arrested in the deli at 874 Broadway, Delvis Garcia, 43, of the Bronx, was arrested in a deli at 107 Marcus Garvey Blvd., and Abdulalim Thabet, 21, was arrested in the deli at 930 Broadway, police said. All three were charged with possessing and selling unstamped cigarettes, and Thabet was also charged with possession of forged instrument, police said.

Police had not found any K2 at the deli as of 5 p.m.

Meanwhile Wednesday, ACI Treatment Center chief executive officer Warren Zysman says K2 use seems to have dropped dramatically in most parts of the city – with the exception of the overdoses in Bed-Stuy.

“They’re getting this K2 — the patients that are coming into our facility — from bodegas in that area,” Zysman told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.

Zysman says calling K2 ‘synthetic marijuana’ is misleading, Silverman reported.

“The behaviors that a person displays is nothing like someone who abuses marijuana,” Zysman said.

In 2015, one Bronx man concerned over how his son was acting while under the influence confronted a bodega owner who sold his child the drug.

“He babbles. He hallucinates. He thinks that things are in the air around him and he’s swinging around,” Lewis Cruz told CBS2 in an earlier interview. “It came to a point is, I’m not going to lose my son to something that’s sold out in the streets. I needed to reach out.”

Zysman described similar symptoms, saying those under the influence become “extremely aggressive, paranoid and really dangerous for others to be around.”

Bodega owners now face repercussions if caught selling the drug out of their establishments. Local law enforcement is also aware of the practice, Silverman reported.

The NYPD says because K2 recipes change constantly, some ingredients aren’t illegal, so it’s difficult to crack down on the dangerous drug. The Police Department added that synthetic pot is still not included in penal law. It can be illegal under federal law if it is made using a controlled substance.