'Kush' causes 'mass casualty situation' at Houston park

Image 1 of 4

A “mass casualty situation” is how Houston firefighters described a scary scene at Hermann Park Thursday afternoon.

One by one they loaded unconscious bodies into ambulances at Hermann Park near the Texas Medical Center. The evidence of what they were doing wasn't hard to find. 

“Many of our firefighters have a nickname, this is Kush corner,” said HFD Captain Ruy Lozano.

Kush, or synthetic marijuana wrappers litter the park and that's nothing new according to emergency crews and to one man we met at the park.  

“’You come to the park a lot and see people smoke Kush?’  Come on bro, you see it , you see it.  Ask anybody see it daily , it’s nothing new," he said.

Firefighters say they respond to Kush calls at this location daily but never to this extreme. At least 16 people hospitalized. 

“It's rampant among our homeless population. It taxes a lot of our EMS resources and our firefighters come here multiple times a day,” said Captain Lozano. He says the Kush along with other possible unknown substances, combined with the heat and likely poor health to begin with is “a cocktail for disaster.” 

“Kush is a very unpredictable drug and that's the thing about it. Sometimes people use it and are somnolent, other times they become violent and sometimes they become very violent and they can overheat and get into life-threatening situations,” said Dr. David Persse, the city of Houston Medical Director.

Kush is newly illegal but Dr. Persse says it comes in so many different formulas that it’s difficult to test for and hard to prosecute. 

If you know anyone involved with Kush, he says call the Houston Police non-emergency number at 713-884-3131.