Ban on synthetic drugs like K2, spice pushed after rash of overdoses

Synthetic cannabinoid can be 100 times more potent than THC, a CDC report said.

Story highlights

  • New legislation is targeting synthetic marijuana and other drugs
  • It comes after about 130 suspected overdoses in one week in New York City

(CNN)Nearly two dozen substances in synthetic drugs such as "K2" and "spice" would be illegal under proposed legislation that New York Sen. Chuck Schumer discussed at a press conference on Sunday.

There were 130 suspected overdoses on synthetic drugs in New York last week, in what Schumer described as "a scene from 'The Walking Dead.' But it was no TV set, it was real life."
    Despite fewer K2-related emergency room visits expected in New York in July compared to a year ago, Schumer noted there were more than 6,000 people hospitalized in 2015.
    "We need a federal hammer to nail these toxic concoctions of synthetic drugs before things get worse," said Schumer, a Democrat. Banning these drugs quickly will help federal agents stem the tide of synthetic drug use in New York and across the country, he said.
    According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, synthetic cannabinoid can be 100 times more potent than THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Schumer's legislation would also include variants of the opioid fentanyl.
    Many chemicals used in synthetic marijuana -- which killed three people between 2010 and 2015 -- are still legal. Producers of "fake weed" continually change the chemical compound, thereby exploiting a legal loophole and drug test detection.
    Fewer K2 synthetic pot hospitalizations expected in New York City