[UPDATE BELOW] Eight people were hospitalized in serious condition after apparently overdosing on the drug K2 in Bedford-Stuyvesant this morning, according to officials.
The FDNY tells us they responded to a call at 362 Stockton Street near Lewis Avenue at 9:38 a.m., alerting authorities that several men appeared to be experiencing an "altered mental status." They arrived on the scene and transported eight victims to Woodhull and Wyckoff hospitals nearby. All patients are listed in serious condition. The NYPD tells us the victims, who are all male, were smoking K2 outside the building when they overdosed.
One witness shared video from the scene on Facebook:
Though the city says that K2-related emergency department visits have decreased 85 percent since their peak in July 2015, recent reports have pinpointed Bed-Stuy as the new epicenter of the synthetic marijuana problem, noting that police have been making arrests on the corner of Myrtle and Broadway and investigating a deli they believe is "sole distributor" of the drug in the neighborhood. Today's apparent mass overdose took place just a block from that spot.
DNAinfo reports that emergency workers alerted residents of local homeless shelters and methadone clinics about the overdoses. "They tried to warn us that this is a bad batch," Freddie Smith, who lives in a homeless shelter in the area, told the website. He noted that the number of local users did appear to have increased, thanks to the drug's affordability and availability. "I come here every day and people are laying in the sidewalk," he said.
Update 2:12 p.m.: The NYPD now says a total of 17 people in the area have been hospitalized due to the K2 overdose. All patients have been sent to Woodhull and Wyckoff hospitals, where they are listed in stable condition. An NYPD spokesperson tells us that while the victims' injuries are of "various degrees of seriousness," they are all expected to survive.