Just last week, dozens of people were taken off of the streets of Bed-Stuy and placed in emergency vehicles in order to treat an apparent mass K2 overdose. K2, a synthetic marijuana, is an extremely cheap drug alternative that provides users with a quick, effective high but after 33 people overdosed in broad daylight, the New York Police Department took a hard look at the Bed-Stuy bodegas that were accused of selling the drug. According to a recent report, in string of raids, investigators overturned five bodegas near the mass overdose intersection, only to find no trace of the synthetic drug.
A package of K2 generally contains dried, plant-like matter that has been doused with a mixture of chemicals which enter the body when smoked. Upon thoroughly searching and interviewing these bodegas, three people were arrested but only for selling untaxed cigarettes. Investigators were surprised that the K2 was nowhere to be found. As the community was quick to point the finger at these Bed-Stuy bodega owners, the owners and workers claim that they too are a victim of the drug epidemic.
“People come ask me for it, and it gives me lots of headaches, everyday. I catch people trying to steal things, many of them on K2,” said Sami al-Zindani in an interview with Vice. He works at a popular bodega called Day and Night in the Bed-Stuy section that is seeing the highest impact of K2 use.
In the days after the mass overdose, dozens of news outlets reported on the story, often taking interviews from Bed-Stuy residents who blamed bodega owners for attempting to use the drug to make fast cash. A joint of K2 sells for $1 and sine 2015, the drug has contributed to nearly 6,000 overdoses throughout New York City alone. While no arrests for distribution have been made, New York law states that anyone selling K2 will face a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of more than $100,000.