At least 25 people were hospitalized in Brooklyn over the weekend after experiencing negative reactions to what’s believed to be synthetic marijuana.
The patients came from the same area of Brooklyn, furthering investigators belief that they are dealing with K2. This form of synthetic marijuana can cause agitation, confusion, hallucinations, rapid heart rates, vomiting and more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lt. Paul Ng with the New York Police Department said Saturday night there have been no deaths but more than a dozen hospitalizations, which began Saturday night and carried on for several hours. 15 of those hospitalized were treated in Brooklyn at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull in Brooklyn.
By Sunday morning, about half of the patients had been released while the others remained under medical observation in the emergency room. NYPD officials were investigating drug activity in the section of Brooklyn where the cases were centered as well as trying to find any more victims and their sources of the drugs.
Lt. Ng said that although NYPD could not confirm that K2 was the cause of the illnesses, investigators believed it was behind the hospitalizations. This incident comes several weeks after synthetic marijuana was linked to the deaths of four people and 153 illnesses across central Illinois and the Chicago area.
An investigation revealed that the synthetic marijuana was laced with rat poison, and the majority of the cases involved unexplained bleeding, including bloody nose, blood in the urine, coughing up blood and bleeding gums. Last year, a three-day period saw 102 people overdose in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but no one died.
In 2016, 33 people in Brooklyn were sent to the hospital after overdosing on synthetic weed within an 11-hour time frame. Patients experienced altered mental states and respiratory issues.
Synthetic marijuana are human-made chemicals that can inhaled through e-cigarette devices or sprinkled on dried, shredded plant materials and smoked.
These mind-altering chemicals are referred to as cannabinoids, because they are similar to the chemicals found in marijuana, but they can bring on serious side effects that are more intense than those of marijuana. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2016 found that synthetic cannabinoids can be as much as 85 times as potent as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the mind-altering chemical that produces the “high” from marijuana consumption.
For more information, please visit the official NYPD website HERE.