Only on 8: Dozens overdose, several die after using ‘super spice’

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – They’re calling it ‘super spice.’ Dozens of people in the Tampa Bay area using the synthetic drug have overdosed in the last few days, officials said.

Some have even died because of complications. Worse yet, even paramedics are being attacked by the people whose lives they are trying to save. And it’s all because of the way the drug is made.

RELATED: WATCH: Man high on ‘spice’ tries to fight

People have been using spice in the area since 2010. But this super spice trend is new. Officials tell News Channel 8 the problem is only expected to last a few weeks. However, with lots of bad batches of spice still out there, they’re bracing for the worst.

Spice can cause fits of rage, anger and depression, while it can also cause a sense of calmness and euphoria. However, the side effects have changed dramatically.

“I still smoke now and then.,” said Melvin “Detroit” Scott, of Tampa, who says he’s been smoking spice for about 2 years.

Scott and others line the streets Tampa. He says he and his friends know about this spike and that it could be life or death when they use it next.

RELATED: Spice bust in Pinellas Park: 2 arrested, a pound of drugs found

“They might overdose or die,” Scott says. “They don’t care.”

But right now, there’s certainly a lot of reasons to care. “This year alone, in the four days from Saturday to today, we’ve had 48 calls,” Chief Bryan Riley of Tampa Fire Rescue said.

They’ve received 48 calls in the last four days – compared to just 12 calls this time last year.

“Whenever there are individuals that are not lucid, it is anybody’s game,” Dr. Tamas Peredy of the Florida Poision Information Center said.

RELATED: Hillsborough smoke shops raided for “spice”

Peredy said drug dealers have changed the way spice is made and that’s causing the chaos. “Do we have any idea of what this specific compound is?” he asked. “The answer is no.”

Health officials may not know, but Scott said he’s willing to take his chances. He told us he’s not scared. “I know how to do it,” Scott said. “I stay active.”

Any doctor would tell you a reason like that is absurd, while law enforcement will tell you smoking spice is against the law.

Dr. Peredy also said there’s no question a bad spike batch like this will cause these problems again.




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