The NYPD said officers responded to calls about several males who had apparently overdosed on K2 around 9 a.m. Saturday at the corner of Broadway and Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick.
A spokesperson said medics transported five males to Woodhull Hospital in stable condition.
Councilman Robert Cornegy organized a last minute press conference Monday to call for additional substance abuse, educational and financial services for people living in the area to combat the drug problem and to implore the NYPD to go after distributors of K2 and other drugs in the area.
WATCH the neighborhood's call for action:
Cornegy said a prior crackdown on K2 had addressed the problem of dealers operating inside nearby stores, but that moved the problem to the street.
"We want to make sure those people responsible for selling this drug, whether it be an establishment or an individual, are brought to justice," Cornegy said. "Until we have an education system that allows people to achieve the highest in education and where they can feel comfortable in affordable housing, you are going to have this kind of behavior."
K2 is a dangerous drug with similar effects to marijuana, but it is up to 100 times more powerful, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is often made by putting chemicals on plant materials.
According to a CDC report, K2 overdoses have been on the rise in recent years, particularly in the Northeast and specifically in New York City. Roughly four months ago, about 25 people were reported to have overdosed on the drug in a single day at the same intersection of Saturday's overdose. And in 2016, three dozen people were also hospitalized in the same day after overdosing at the intersection.
"Word gets around that they have good stuff here and they come," community activist Robert Camacho said. "Like a cancer, the problem spreads."
Residents say they are tired of it.
"It's just crazy, I don't know what to say," Melvin Boney said. "It's taking down our community, and something should be done about it."
Police said the five individuals taken to the hospital were expected to recover.
The NYPD is planning multi-agency inspections to target the use and distribution of K2.
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