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K2-Related Hospital Visits Down 85 Percent, City Says

"Spice," a drug also known as "K2" or "synthetic marijuana" is a growing problem in the city, said city officials.
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HARLEM — There has been a sharp decrease in the number of hospital admissions resulting from the use of the synthetic marijuana K2, city officials said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and other officials touted an 85 percent decline in K2-related emergency room visits since July 2015, when the city’s health department reported an alarming increase in emergencies linked to the drug.

In July 2015, there were nearly 1,200 emergency room visits. In March 2016, the latest month reported, that number dropped to about 200, according to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The mayor cited a strict crackdown, including the ban on selling and manufacturing K2, and public awareness campaigns.

“Working collaboratively… our city responded quickly to the threat of synthetic cannabinoids and we will continue to send a clear message that K2 and other substances like it have no place in New York City,” said de Blasio.

“The drop in emergency department visits is a clear sign that our strategy is working and that fewer New Yorkers are being harmed by this dangerous and deadly drug.”

Harlem was one of the communities negatively affected by the substance.

Earlier this year, a man was arrested in East Harlem after police found him with 98 hand-rolled joints of K2. Students at Harlem Village Academy, with the help of anti-drug group S.A.F.E. in Harlem, also produced an anti-K2 PSA.