NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Nearly 100 people had to be hospitalized over the past week due to a tainted batch of K2 in Brooklyn, health officials say.
On Thursday night, CBS2’s Ali Bauman took an exclusive look at the NYPD’s overdose squad, working to get the drug off the streets.
Overdoses can turn a neighborhood in to a zombieland.
“I came out and there were two people ODing across the street. Then, the next day, I came out and there were two people ODing across the street again,” resident Dan Foley said.
The K2 epicenter is Broadway and Myrtle Avenue, where there were 33 overdoses in a single day in 2016. In response, the NYPD raided businesses that were believed to sell the drug.
Now, two years later, police have set up a mobile command center there, but say K2 is no longer so easy to trace.
“It’s coming from all directions. It’s not coming from one bodega. It’s coming from the guy on the street, the guy in this park, the guy in that park,” Det. Chris Zeffiro told Bauman.
The NYPD overdose squad went store-to-store, sifting through surveillance video to identify dealers.
“We’re going to enhance that photo and then we’re going to send it out to all officers on the street to try to identify who that is,” said Det. Joel Polichron.
Even that is just scratching the surface.
“Until we stop the people that are selling it on the corners, it’s just going to keep going and going,” Sgt. Sean Honstetter said.
Police say K2 is so dangerous because it isn’t just one drug – it’s a mix of several toxic chemicals. Distributors add their own ingredients to make their batch even more potent and more addictive.
“It could be anything – it could be bleach, it could be gas, could be rat poisoning, could be anything,” said Zeffiro.
Brooklyn residents said they appreciate the added NYPD presence but that it doesn’t solve the problem.
“For the minute that they’re here, the presence is OK. They’ll stay away from here for a little while, and then they’ll just go, come back later when they all leave,” Brian Arthur said.
“We have police officers throughout pretty much everywhere on foot,” said Zeffiro.
Police continue to follow the breadcrumbs, hoping they’ll finally lead to the dangerous K2 chemists.
So far, they have arrested 36 people in connection with the tainted K2 since last Saturday.