Taking a chance consuming modern synthetic designer drugs containing dangerous chemical variants can produce hellish results. Disturbing stories of irrational behavior within the homeless community is the hallmark of spice. Recently, 300 homeless men and women mysteriously fell ill in St. Louis, marking one of the worst spice outbreaks the United States has seen. Other outbreaks and mass overdoses have occurred in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, San Diego and Austin, Texas.
The St. Louis Dispatch described the city's latest outbreak as a scene from the Walking Dead. St. Louis' Reverend Larry Rice runs The New Life Evangelistic Center shelter in downtown St. Louis, and has seen the carnage first-hand. "They told me, 'You get so low, you get such a sense of hopelessness. Somebody wants to sell this for a dollar and you take it,’'" Rice told the Associated Press. "People are desperate out there."
At least 18 homeless men and women overdosed on spice near the area of The New Life Evangelistic Center.Last summer in Brooklyn, dozens overdoses on a bad batch of spice. The outbreak eventually led to over 130 spice overdoses. Last fall, more than 50 were hospitalized from spice in Austin, Texas.14 fell ill after consuming spice in San Diego, prompting a city-wide spice ban six months later.
Of the many, there are two reason that really stand out as to why people opt to abuse spice instea of indulging in marijuana, the first one being that spice is dirt-cheap. This is also the main reason why spice appeals particularly to the homeless, as it can go for as low as $1 or $2 per joint. The second reason is in order to pass a drug screen. Drug screens can easily pick up the metabolites from life-affirming marijuana, yet life-threatening drugs like spice go undetected.
The only real similarities between spice and THC is the drugs' chemical composition, and the similarities end there. Spice is an Asian chemical fertilizer that appeared in the market circa 2004. Ironically, marijuana cultivators strive to rinse fertilizers completely from their product. Dr. Anthony Scalzo, director of toxicology for the Saint Louis University School of Medicine says that spice is 100 times more potent than marijuana.
However, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish reefer madness nonsense from genuine drug danger. The United States government has said that marijuana is deadly, but don't be fooled, it's spice that poses the real threat.