Spice: Its origin and effects

Spice: Its origin and effects
Spice recovered from a recent bust in the Hub City

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Mojo, Skunk, Spice Diamond, Moon Rocks, K2, and synthetic marijuana are all names associated with the popular product known as Spice.

But, what is Spice actually made of?

"It's a variety of drugs because it's not just one substance, it is sold to the buyer as synthetic marijuana or fake marijuana or a natural product, it's not natural, its laced with all kind of different products from household cleaners to methamphetamine to everything else," said Dr. John Nelson, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Forrest General Hospital.

Spice resembles shredded plants or potpourri, and some may be sold as incense and can contain artificial stimulants intended to mimic marijuana. According to state medical officials, its effects are more powerful than marijuana, often causing severe illness and sometimes death.

According to health care officials, it is a growing problem.

"Oh we are seeing it daily, many cases, anywhere from three to six to nine cases a day," said Nelson.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health 473 'Spice' cases have been reported since April 2nd across the state, more than twice the number from a week ago.

"It is a continuing problem, before about three weeks ago we weren't seeing this," said Nelson.

According to Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict, four deaths have been spice related in Forrest County; however all of those are pending final toxicology results.

"Typically they come in very agitated, combative, hallucinating and uncontrollable. For treatment, a lot of it is sedation and trying to calm them down cause there is no antidote for this," said Nelson.

Other symptoms can include seizures, increased heart rate, and suicidal thoughts; however the long term effects are unknown especially with the varying products being used to produce Spice. All of these symptoms are possible and can vary in strength, due to the amount of chemical or poison introduced to the product.

"They are spraying anything from insecticide to household cleaners on the product, and for what purpose I do not know, but buyers beware," said Nelson.

Aside from state and local law enforcement agencies cracking down on Spice use and distribution across the state, hospital officials continue to stress the dangers.

"I would say you are playing a very dangerous game of Russian roulette and the odds are against you," said Nelson.