Mobile Police Chief: Significant decrease in sale, use of synthetic marijuana after OD epidemic

(WKRG) — At the height of the spice epidemic there were over a hundred spice related ER visits a week in Mobile. Beginning late last year, police began cracking down. Investigators held drug busts, and shut down businesses distributing the drug.

“We actually had several store seizures where we seize these convenience stores who were responsible for putting these illegal drugs on the street,” said Chief James Barber, Mobile Police Dept.

Police later released a public announcement warning people about the dangers in April.

“It looks harmless but it’s not,” said Barber.

But since April, spice has been on the downturn. Local ER rooms are seeing far fewer cases. The Drug Education Council which has been monitoring the drug, also says use has been down.

“I think we’ve seen a decrease as far as spice use goes, it’s not the epidemic it was but it is a threat to the community,” said Courtney Upton, with the Council.

Chief James Barber says multiple drug raids and business closures have helped to curb the drug’s use on the streets.

“It continues to be the single most significant threat to the safety and health of the public.  This stuff will kill you, it will cause psychosis and it also causes major organ failure,” said Barber.

And because at one time spice was sold as aromatherapy — Chief Barber says it will take time to educate people about the dangers of the drug. A new video will be aimed at students, featuring testimonials.

But still — the drug is cheap, easy to make and all that means a potential for resurgence.

“My biggest fear is the use of synthetic drugs period anything from amphetamines to the one time called bath salts including spice, they’re all synthetics.”

Chief Barber also told us investigators are tracking heroin distribution.  They’re trying to determine if that drug is making a comeback in the Port City. We’ll be tracking this too and will keep you posted.

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