"American Association of Poison Control Centers Issues Warning About Reemerging Synthetic Drugs." That's the title of a strongly worded press release issued yesterday about "Spice" following an upsurge in hospital visits and calls to state poison control centers due to the drug. Those centers received 1,008 reports of adverse reactions to Spice during the first 22 days of April, compared to 892 reports over the first three months of the year. That's a total of 1,900 calls; all of 2014 saw a total of 3,680. The synthetic substance resembles pot but isn't really anything like it: It's treated with chemicals—like pesticides and rat poison—can be 100 times more potent than marijuana, and can cause extreme anxiety, violent behavior, and delusions, the Washington Post reports.
Mississippi, New York, and Alabama—which has seen 462 Spice-related hospital visits in the past month—have each issued alerts; Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, and Texas have also seen a spike in Spice cases, the New York Times reports. A law enforcement official tells Mississippi's Sun Herald he'd gladly see pot legalized in his state if it meant the Spice market would be wiped out as a result, though he thinks Spice users wouldn't give up the drug for pot. Another official tells the Herald Spice is the "most dangerous" drug he's ever seen because it can kill almost instantly, and a few of this year's cases have indeed ended in death. The Times notes it's unclear whether the bump in Spice-related medical cases is due to increased usage or the distribution of a more dangerous variation of it. The press release notes Spice's ill effects were first reported in the US in 2009.