More than a dozen people suspected of using dangerous synthetic drugs were treated in D.C. on Friday -- including four people believed to have overdosed near the Columbia Heights Metro station, according to sources within the D.C. Fire and EMS Department.
First responders in the District had treated 14 patients by 3:30 p.m. who were believed to have used synthetic drugs, according to the fire department.
News4's Meagan Fitzgerald witnessed EMTs near 14th and Irving streets NW place patients onto stretchers and rush them to hospitals one by one.
Local Ellen Sullivan said she called 911 because she feared a man she saw lying on the street would die.
Another local, Tiffany Mitchell, said she had used synthetic drugs -- which are known by names including K2, Scooby Snax, trainwreck and spice -- and they landed her in the hospital twice. She said she regularly sees people in the area overdose on synthetic drugs.
"Ever since they started smoking it, ambulances have been coming up here every day. It's sad," she said. "They need to hurry up and get this stuff off the streets."
D.C. moved this month to crack down on the sale on synthetic cannabinoids, giving police the authority to shut down businesses caught selling the drugs.
Earlier this month, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Kevin Donahue attributed a recent spike in crime in D.C. in part to the use of synthetic drugs. "We know that when we arrest people for violent crimes, almost 40 percent have synthetic drugs in their system," he said.