K2: Fake drug, real horror – Part 1

A six-month investigation by News 12 examines the nightmarish synthetic marijuana epidemic that has some teenagers hooked, police panicked and health officials overwhelmed. The drug,

A six-month investigation by News 12 examines the nightmarish synthetic marijuana epidemic that has some teenagers hooked, police panicked and health officials overwhelmed.

A six-month investigation by News 12 examines the nightmarish synthetic marijuana epidemic that has some teenagers hooked, police panicked and health officials overwhelmed. (8/16/16)

YONKERS - A six-month investigation by News 12 examines the nightmarish synthetic marijuana epidemic that has some teenagers hooked, police panicked and health officials overwhelmed.

The drug, also known as K2, is technically legal and is sold online and at some gas stations. It's what's hidden inside the drug that can be fatal.

News 12’s Tara Rosenblum began the investigation into K2 after getting an email from a young woman in Yonkers who says she overdosed on the drug 15 times. Further investigation showed that her story is not uncommon.

K2 delivers cheap, unpredictable and long-lasting highs that have local law enforcement scrambling to save lives. The drugs, which are labeled not for human consumption, are packaged in colorful foil packets with names like K2, Spice and Scooby Snax. Buying a stick of K2 is as cheap as $1.

According to federal authorities, hospitalizations from K2 across the country increased 229 percent in the past year.

"We've had people climb poles, licking the sidewalks. Our officers are engaged in really some horrific battles with these people," says White Plains Public Safety Commissioner David Chong.

Synthetic marijuana is now the second-most popular illegal drug among high schoolers, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Dr. Steven Kipnis, New York’s drug czar for 14 years, says dealers make it with imported powdered chemicals from China and then mix it with acetone before spraying the potent mix on dried plants and herbs. Every time lawmakers ban one of the chemical concoctions, the chemists simply tweak the recipe.

 

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