LAUREL, MS - Laurel officials said the amount of synthetic marijuana arrests are decreasing, but the change could be causing another number to increase.
The number of patients being treated at Pine Grove with spice addictions is increasing.
Director of the Next Step treatment program, Issac Boose, said these patients are sometimes difficult to treat because of their mental state.
"They can't sit still long enough to comprehend what you are trying to teach or they may become so agitated that they may be a threat to other patients," Boose said.
When people smoke spice they experience a high similar to marijuana. However, common side effects could include hallucinations, seizures, agitation and sometimes death.
"A person doesn't really know what dosage they are getting," Boose said. "It's not controlled."
Boose works with many patients through the Next Step treatment program, which helps men who are addicted drugs like spice. He said the drug is popular because it does not easily show up on a drug tests.
"I think that's whats appealing to people, to older people that I can try this and it won't affect my job if they are screening me for drugs," Boose said.
While psychiatric hospitals continue to look for different ways to treat the addiction, the Laurel Police Department said they are seeing less of the drug. This year the department has made three spice-related arrests.
"I believe the message is getting out and people are starting to understand that it is anything but synthetic marijuana," LPD Sgt. Vince Williams said. "It's more on the lines of PCP."
However, the department said they will continue to warn people about the drug to keep it from getting into the hands of young people.