“These individuals, many of them under the influence of this drug, are totally crazy — superhuman strength, impervious to pain,” Bratton said at a press conference. “So some of the normal takedowns that we would use are not going to work.”
Packages of the drug, which are sold mainly out of bodegas, cost as little as $5 a packet or $1 for a pre-rolled joint.
City agencies, including the NYPD and Health Department have, worked to stop bodegas from selling the drug, which is commonly called K2.
Officials have raided bodegas in Harlem selling the drug and issued summonses to people caught smoking it.
The city started cracking down on the drug in April after 120 people were hospitalized for synthetic marijuana-related incidents.
There were more than 1,900 emergency room admissions for the drug throughout New York State from April 1 to June 30, officials said.
“This a great unknown chemical,” said NYPD Civil Enforcement Unit assistant commissioner Robert Messner.
“And you have people taking into their bodies a substance that's been produced in an unknown place by unknown people, and it’s an unknown substance.”
Apart from raids the NYPD has also issued new guidelines for officers on how to deal with people on the drug.
Officers are encouraged to wait for additional backup and use Tasers to subdue people acting violently.
Once arrested, individuals would be taken to a hospital to be stabilized instead of straight to a precinct.
Bratton warned the public to “stay away” from any one who appeared to be on the drug and acting irrationally.
“They are incredibly potentially dangerous,” he said.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The videos that previously appeared in this story have been removed because their authenticity could not be verified by the NYPD.