Only on 8: Clearwater police see spice ‘zombies’

This still frame from the Clearwater Police Department shows someone believed to be on spice.
This still frame from the Clearwater Police Department shows someone believed to be on spice.

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – More people are overdosing on spice in the Tampa Bay area than ever before. The dangerous trend is skyrocketing in parts of Pinellas County.

This comes just one week after another surge of overdoses in Hillsborough County. Police say the people making spice are getting tricky. They’re changing up the ingredients in these drugs, which often means users have no idea what they’re smoking.

Clearwater police say they’ve never seen anything like it. There were even a handful of new cases Thursday.

Police issued a warning that this may just be the beginning.

In exclusive video from the Clearwater Police Department, a major can be seen asking three people on the ground, “How long ago did you guys smoke spice? Young lady, how long ago did you smoke? What’s your name?”

No one ever answered him.

This incident happened Wednesday at Crest Lake Park. A lot of people are overdosing in this Clearwater park.

“What’s your name?” Major Eric Gandy of the Clearwater Police Department said asks in another part of the video. Finally, one of the men utters in a quiet voice, “My name?”

The three can’t speak. Their behavior is erratic. They appear to be the victims of bad batches of what some call super spice.

“The spike that we’re seeing and my personnel are dealing with on the road are unprecedented,” Major Gandy said.

There were three overdoses Wednesday alone, and the number of cases in the city is way up, according to the police department.

Cops are doing their best to stop it but right now, but the people who make the drug are one step ahead. “Looked like one of our zombie movies,” Major Gandy said about the scene at the park where paramedics saved three lives. “I had 15 people walking around in various states of incapacitation.”

Teddy, who smokes spice, says he has seen his friends act that way. For him, that hasn’t happened yet.

Teddy said he’s done a lot of drugs. He’s even willing to take his chance with super spice.  “Well yeah, then you don’t know what’s in it,” he said. “You could be getting high on rat poisoning.”

The problem isn’t specific to Clearwater. Body camera video from Pasco County shows one man acting out of control and confronting deputies.

Just last week, bad batches of the drug in Tampa quadrupled the number of overdoses, law enforcement said. Some people even died.

When asked if it scared him, Teddy said, “Yeah, yeah, and it should scare you, too.”

Police told News Channel 8 this is wreaking havoc at hospital emergency rooms. Doctors are doing their best trying to keep up with the increased number of patients.

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