Spice: The truth behind the cannabis substitute wreaking havoc and claiming lives in Alabama

Then came the suicides. Brandon Murphree had just graduated from the only highschool in town, earning a full-ride scholarship to Jacksonville State University, right up the road. Murphree was handsome and popular. College was going to be a party.

But the party started early, then went sour. A few weeks after Murphree graduated, his parents started finding empty packets of Spice, or synthetic marijuana, scattered around the house. At the same time, their son began acting erratically. Normally happy and polite, he was suddenly sullen and rude. But the bizarre mood swings were only the beginning of the Murphrees’ midsummer nightmare.

Two weeks later, on 2 July, Murphree came home agitated. He argued with his parents, then tore through the house until he found his father’s handgun. Then, the popular kid headed to college, pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger.

Two months later, another local teen...

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