Tim Wetzel, KHOU
Houston leaders say they are shocked and disturbed by the Kush problem in Hermann Park we first reported on Thursday.
Sixteen people were taken by ambulance to area hospitals Thursday for suspected overdoses of the synthetic cannaboid. They were passed out and strung out.
Mayor Sylvester Turner and HPD Chief Martha Montalvo are promising to add more park rangers and patrols to the area that’s become known as “Kush Corner.”
“Individuals who are utilizing kush, they don't want to be in a house, they don't want housing and they can be much more aggressive,” Mayor Turner said. “And we don't want them taking over parks and our public space because it infringes on everybody else.”
“We don't want people to be afraid, we want people to enjoy themselves in the parks, as they should,” said Montalvo.
Emergency crews say the problem is out of control.
“You need to get HPD out here, this is getting ridiculous,” said one paramedic on the scanner Thursday. “There are so many incidence of kush. We need HPD out here stat.”
“They can be violent, confused, and it makes it an undesirable place for families in one of the most desirable parks in the city,” said HFD Capt. Ruy Lozano.
“It's bad man, it's really, really bad,” agreed one park visitor Thursday.
“You worry about your kids, you don't know what you are going to do,” said another.
City leaders say they’re seeing similar problems at other Houston parks and on the streets of downtown.
In one six-month period, HFD crews transported more than 900 people for overdosing on kush.
“It turns people either zombies or very aggressive,” said Marc Eichenbaum, Special Asst. to the Mayor on Homeless Initiatives. “It is the cheapest street drug out there, but it is highly, highly dangerous.”
The combination of kush and Houston’s heat can also cause dehydration, Lozano said.
Poilce complain laws against synthetic cannaboids are difficult to enforce.