"It's a public safety crisis:" 'Spice' overdoses in Tuscaloosa leave 1 dead, dozens hospitalized

Overdoses on synthetic marijuana known as 'spice' have spiked in Tuscaloosa County in the last two weeks, leaving one victim dead and two dozen others hospitalized. 

The leaders of the area's public safety and law enforcement agencies held a joint press conference Thursday afternoon to make the public aware of the problem, which Tuscaloosa's Chief of Police Steven Anderson called "a public health crisis and a public safety crisis."

In the last year, agents of the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force have made at least two major seizures of synthetic marijuana and found the drugs had been treated with insecticides and rodenticides. Public safety officials suspect the poisons are being added to make the 'spice' more potent and to give it hallucinogenic effects, but it is also sending users of the drug to the hospital.

Deric Jones, the medical director at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, said the hospital's campuses in Tuscaloosa...

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