NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, is a leafy plant matter that is sprayed with a liquid and smoked. The drug is found in the liquid.
Video widely circulated out of Bedford-Stuyvesant of dozens of people walking around in a zombie-like state earlier this week is drawing attention to the drug.
Thirty-three people were hospitalized in an apparent mass overdose of K2.
"People have the perception of safety, somehow, because it is a plant or any variety of herb. A lot of unknown chemicals (are sprayed on it) and it can have very harmful effects," said Christopher Yadron, Executive Director for Hazelden Betty Ford Center.
"It is a very powerful drug. It is highly addictive and withdrawal is like a narcotic," said Brad Lamm, interventionist.
Most drug tests cannot detect the presence of K2.
"If you are a licensed professional, uniform professional or on parole, and you get drug tested, K2 won't show up on a drug test. A lot of veterans will use it. It doesn't pop up in the drug test," said Lamm.
"Last year, New York made it illegal to sell K2, but there a couple of hundred different cow pots individuals use to create this substance," said Yadron.
If you know someone who is addicted to K2, Lamm, who is also a former meth addict, says you need to step in.
"You see videos like this, it is a wake-up call for every family. We intervene. You do not take "no" for an answer," said Lamm.
"The addictive process pulls people in. It's really about loss of control. They are seeking to escape. They are seeking euphoria and to get high, but it does the opposite," said Yadron.
"People do recover. I got better and I never looked back," said Lamm.
"Families feel stuck. He said 'no' or she said 'no.' They can't stop in their current state, so we interrupt," said Yadron.
For more information on the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, visit HAZELDENBETTYFORD.ORG.