NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There may be a potential resurgence of the drug K2 in Brooklyn.
More than two dozen people were rushed to the hospital Saturday night after overdosing. And as police investigated Sunday where the drugs came from, officers temporarily shut down a deli in Bedford-Stuyvesant, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported.
At the intersection of Broadway and Myrtle numerous people were so sick they started falling over on to sidewalks. Witnesses said the patients were puffing on a substance one minute and then the next were struggling to breathe or were unconscious. There were numerous ambulance runs.
“They smoking it. They OD-ing on it,” witness Chris Clark said.
Police said they were likely the victims of an especially potent or bad batch of the synthetic drug K2.
“It’s pretty bad,” Bushwick resident Nelson Santiago said. “All they do is smoke and pass out.”
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Investigators trying to track where the drugs came from were inside Big Boy Deli, which was shut down because police said it failed a business inspection. Some men inside were arrested for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes, CBS2’s Carlin reported.
“I have seen suspect people outside of this place,” Bushwick resident Maggie Rummel said.
It is not the first time a scene like this has played out in the area. It is very similar to what happened in mid-July of 2016, when 33 overdose cases were reported in a single night at around the same intersection.
Residents, New York City Council members and other politicians said Sunday they want stepped-up police patrols in Bushwick and Bed-Stuy and tougher penalties for those caught supplying synthetic drugs. Currently, merchants who are caught lose their business licences and face fines and jail time.
But stopping the sales can be tough as more transactions happen on the sly out in front of businesses.
“Some of the local shop owners are now using what’s called ‘runners,’ so not selling it absolutely at the store, but having people who are working outside the store who I associate it, loosely associated with the stores doing their business for them,” Councilman Robert E. Cornegy Jr. said.
Some of the more than two dozen patients showing signs of overdose were brought to Wodhull Medical Center, Carlin reported.
CBS2 saw officers on the streets trying to get more people medical help, but many refused treatment.
“The sadness of seeing somebody struggling to the point of where they cannot take care of themselves,” resident Felix Morelo said.
It appears the number of drug users suffering during this latest incident is higher than originally thought.