Spike in Spice usage being referred to as “public health, safety crisis”

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — They’re calling it a “public health and safety crisis.”

Tuscaloosa law enforcement, health care officials, and the district attorney’s office are speaking out about “Spice.” Over the past month they’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of overdoses.

Broken down by numbers, since March 28th, emergency workers have responded to 22 calls and treated 30 patients for symptoms ranging from severe agitation and combativeness to unconsciousness.

These packets that are just some of the 70 pounds of spice that law enforcement has seized in the past year. But, in the past 4 weeks they’ve seen a frightening increase in the number of overdoses and they aren’t sure where to lay the blame. It could be a bad batch that’s being sold, it could be connected to similar cases in Jackson, Mississippi, but what law enforcement does know is that there is a major misconception about synthetic marijuana.

“This is not marijuana,” said Tuscaloosa Sheriff Ron Abernathy. “Tell the public, tell your children, that’s not what you’re dealing with here. This is like a PCP, LSD type of situation that you’re dealing with.”

The age range for the patients that EMS workers have responded to since this spike in overdoses started is 18 to 50. This means it’s not a problem that’s just impacting a certain part of the population.

Local emergency room doctors tell us they’ve also seen at least one death that they believe is connected to a Spice overdose.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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