By COLlive reporter
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio today signed into law three new bills to curb the use of K2 and increase violations for those who seek to sell or manufacture this chemical mixture.
The three bills are part of a multi-agency enforcement, education and prevention strategy against K2. This strategy aims to reduce the presence and use of K2 by aggressively cracking down on suppliers while offering supportive services and treatment to users in need.
At least 2 recent public disturbances on the streets of Crown Heights were linked to the growing usage of the drug which causes psychotic effect, according to the New York Police Department.
“We have a significant problem in the neighborhood with this drug,” NYPD 71st Precinct Community Affairs Officer, Detective Vinny Martinos said. “It is a type of marijuana that causes psychotic effect. People who take it have to be hospitalized.”
“We are getting K2 off our streets and out of the hands of New Yorkers, and this legislation will improve quality of life for all New Yorkers. K2 is a poison that threatens public safety and public health – and these new laws criminalize sellers and manufacturers, without punishing users who are held hostage by this toxic drug,” said Mayor de Blasio.
“To date, NYPD has indicted 10 sellers, seized $17.5 million worth of K2 products, ingredients, and paraphernalia – and we will continue this enforcement to send a clear message: making K2 or selling it to New Yorkers is a criminal activity that will not be tolerated.”
“We have been working relentlessly to eradicate this poison. Our work has resulted in the arrest of dozens—and seizure of millions of packets of K2—and countless more ingredients destined for production that never made it to the street. This law affords us additional tools to continue to combat the scourge of K2,” said Police Commissioner William Bratton.
Sold in bodegas, synthetic cannabinoids are leaves sprayed with unpredictable and diverse chemical combinations that are either smoked or ingested. The drugs go by a variety of names, such as K2, Spice, Green Giant, and Caution, and produce adverse consequences ranging from agitation to vomiting to tremor seizures to hallucinations to violent behavior.
Since January 2015, there have been more than 4,500 synthetic cannabinoid-related emergency department visits in New York City, with more than 1,200 emergency department visits occurring in July. Males account for approximately 90 percent of these emergency room visits. Patients have a median age of 37 and are disproportionately residents of shelters and individuals with a psychiatric illness. Nearly all – 99 percent – of patients are age 18 and older.
Led by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the multi-agency effort includes representatives from the New York Police Department, the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Health and Hospitals Corporation, the Law Department, the Department of Homeless Services, the Sheriff, and the Attorney General’s office.