Deadly ‘spice’ variant in stores, health officials warn parents
A type of synthetic marijuana known as “Spice” was banned in Georgia last year. But it appears its life-threatening replacement can now be found on the shelves of some convenience stores and smoke shops and the Ga. Dept. of Public Health (DPH) is warning consumers to avoid it.
“DPH has become aware of a dangerous, potentially lethal substance surfacing in convenience stores and smoke shops. DPH has issued an emergency communication to about 40,000 licensed physicians and physician’s assistants in Georgia. When ingested or inhaled this neurotoxin can render a person motionless and/or unconscious and cause severe cardiac problems. In the last 24 hours, at least eight patients in southeast Georgia have been hospitalized. Some patients have been admitted to intensive care and are on life support,” DPH said Friday.
The substance is sold under the names “Crazy Clown” or “Herbal Madness Incense,” among others. It is marketed as “herbal incense,” bath salts, or “roll-your-own” tobacco, said DPH.
“While these substances have been around for years, there are new indications the chemicals or ingredients have been altered to be far more dangerous or deadly. The substance is most commonly smoked or burned in a small bowl and inhaled,” DPH representatives said.
State officials said first responders have reported unusual strength, agitation and combativeness in some persons. Some users have been rendered motionless, have abnormal or absent reflexes and some experience unconsciousness. Symptoms may present almost immediately after ingestion or inhalation or may be delayed as more of the product is ingested or inhaled. Mild to moderate intoxication can result in alterations in mood and perception, red eyes, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, weakness, cardiac abnormalities, hypertension, disorientation and an increase in pulse rate, similar to marijuana.
DPH is working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency to collect these products and remove them from store shelves.
Samples of the product are currently being tested to identify the ingredients. Until the composition of the product is known, physicians are only able to treat symptoms.
Anyone who has used the substance should seek immediate medical attention or call the Georgia Poison Center at 800-222-1222.
Gov. Nathan Deal signed Chase’s Law on March 27, 2012. The law banning the sale of the substance sometimes referred to as “Spice” was named in memory of 16 year-old McIntosh High School honor student and soccer player Chase Corbitt Burnett whose body was found by his father March 4 in the hot tub at their home near Peachtree City.