LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - South Central Regional Medical Center has treated 14 spice cases in 14 days. The hospital said since April 16 they've had more than a dozen individuals rushed to the emergency room for using the illegal drug.
"Just in the last 24 hours there's been several people who have been in the emergency room and admitted to the hospital in this area that they suspect spice was the reason for their illness," said Lt. Robert Little.
"It's literally killing people," said Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge. "We just had some tested at the crime lab that came back with roach killer, the ingredients that you make roach killer with, and people wonder why after inhaling this through a vaporizer or other forms that it's causing them to go into seizures and convulsions and obviously die.
Due to the rash in spice related cases, the Jones County Sheriff's Department decided to hold a narcotics investigation class for several agencies.
"I don't think it's going to get any better, we've got to think differently, act differently, we've got to prepare differently and we've got to protect our people," said Sheriff Hodge.
During the training class Wednesday, officials were brought up to speed with current trends that are being seen in drugs like spice. They were also introduced to several items that are being used to conceal the drugs.
"If we don't wake up as a community right now and get a hold of this, I can assure you if it's not affecting you it will be," said Sheriff Hodge.
The department said they are concerned with the spike they've seen in spice and the affects it's causing.
"The dropout rate amongst people who use marijuana is way higher than the dropout rate of people who don't use marijuana," said Lt. Robert Little. "We know that marijuana is addictive and it affects the dopamine and the brain, with spice all we know it's that it's killing people."
"We know the short-term affects are making people sick and killing people, but for those long term affects, if you do survive it, we don't yet know what spice is doing to you long-term," said Sheriff Hodge.
The department hopes to speak to the public more on spice and other drugs. On May 28 from 6 – 8 p.m. Life Church will be hosting an education class. The sheriff's department said they will be informing those who attend about the various drugs they come across every day.