Police investigating reports of people experiencing symptoms of ‘unknown substance’

The Metropolitan Police Department is warning residents to be on the lookout for suspected “spiked drinks” this weekend, with officers investigating several reports of symptoms that may be tied to the substances. Around 9:30…

Police investigating reports of people experiencing symptoms of ‘unknown substance’

The Metropolitan Police Department is warning residents to be on the lookout for suspected “spiked drinks” this weekend, with officers investigating several reports of symptoms that may be tied to the substances.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Friday night, D.C. police were called to the Chinatown area for reports of someone experiencing symptoms of an “unknown substance.” Officials from various hospitals reported receiving dozens of patients over the course of the weekend, and now, the investigation is focused on the area of 15th and H streets Northeast.

Police have asked people in the area to call 301-777-1919 if they suspect someone else may have become ill.

“We’re urging everyone in D.C. to be cautious,” said Sergeant Kimberly Schneider, a police spokeswoman.

Since the end of last week, police have received reports of a rash of possible “spiked drinks” in the area.

On Friday afternoon, police received a call from a woman who said she had been hit in the face with what appeared to be a foreign substance. After drinking, the woman told police she experienced facial pain and began vomiting. While she was at the hospital, a second woman with the same symptoms reportedly stopped at a doctor’s office, telling a nurse that a substance in her drink caused her reactions.

Police called another hospital after the woman developed and was not responding to treatment, Schneider said.

On Saturday, a citizen near the intersection of Poplar and 14th streets Northwest called police, saying he was also victims of an unknown substance, according to Schneider. Police said they responded to the scene and were told that a man was in the middle of washing it off with his shirt when the suspect approached him. The man refused to give his name, but was able to provide an approximation of his height, weight and age, and he was reported to be on crutches. He told police he was then hit in the face with a substance.

Those affected in the cases reported had similar symptoms, Schneider said, and after seeing the other victims, police are reportedly focusing their search on the immediate area of 15th and H streets Northeast. They’re also following a fresh batch of complaints to hospitals, including some from Washington Hospital Center and another local hospital.

Schneider said at least one victim underwent surgery and may need further procedures.

This article has been updated.

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