Recently the streets of bed-stuy, a neighborhood in Brooklyn was left looking like a scene out of a zombie movie. 33 people were hospitalized in Brooklyn for K2 overdoses. K2 is also known as synthetic marijuana or spice and it has been known to cause hallucinations, rapid heartbeats, and seizures. Some have also died from synthetic marijuana unlike the drug it was named after.
K2 has only recently become banned in some states recently but it’s still legal in many parts of the U.S.
It’s cheaper than weed
Bags were being sold in pre-packaged glycine bags for as little as $3 so it comes as no surprise why K2 was so popular in one of the cheapest neighborhoods to live in in NYC. Online grams can be found for $7 when on average a gram of weed is sold for $20. Some of the K2 bags are filled with nothing more than herbs sprayed with chemicals that adversely affect the brain. Even though K2 was outlawed in NY last year the penalties associated with selling and possessing synthetic marijuana are much less severe than the ones associated with actual marijuana which is less harmful.
They can’t find weed
Some people just don’t know anyone who sells weed so they try to replace marijuana with its more deadly synthetic counterpart. People in states that don’t have recreational marijuana are forced to socialize and meet pot dealers but not everyone is fortunate to come across one but K2 can be found on the shelves of grocery stores and delis.
They need to pass drug tests
K2 does not appear on most standard drug tests. K2 would require a separate more expensive drug test so most places end up not testing for the substance and drug users are aware of this flaw in the sytem. People who are on probation or feel the need to get buzzed beyond alcohol but get drug tested at work may turn to K2 for a good time. Tyssen Walker, a K2 user, said “I am on probation and I didn’t want to come up with a dirty urine but I didn’t want to stop doing drugs.” This is one of the main reasons people use K2 despite the harmful side effects.
K2 is sold as incense or potpourri which are not sold for smoking and do not require an ID. This has made the drug alluring to teens between the ages of 15 to 18 who can’t even buy cigarettes yet but can legally purchase and smoke these “incense” packets that make some teens and even adults feel like they’re dying.
The bottom line
Even in places like New York where K2 is banned, spice use is still popular due to the low costs and inaccessibility of real marijuana. The K2 epidemic is one that might see it’s end if legalization ever hit the federal level. Until then some folks in states without recreational marijuana will turn to more deadly alternatives when chasing their highs.
image credit: avvo.com