Bad 'spice' sends 13 to hospital in Gainesville

Gainesville Police are investigating a batch of the drug known as Spice that sent 13 people to the hospital. 

Police said all 13 victims were found along the NE Waldo Road corridor Thursday afternoon and evening. Officers described the people experiencing seizures, high levels of paranoia, and other unusual issues.

Acting Chief Inspector Jorge Campos said some of the people were even grasping at the ground, worried they were going to “float away.”

"They were in need of immediate emergency medical attention because of what they had consumed,” said Campos.

After investigating the area, cops believe what they consumed is the synthetic drug known as "spice." Spice is a mixture of herbs sprayed with chemical mixtures to mimic the effects of drugs; sometimes referred to as synthetic marijuana.

Experts say the problem is that those chemical mixtures are manmade, producing vastly different effects from batch to batch, and often putting the user at serious risk due to dangerous toxic chemicals inside. 

Police believe that was the case with this batch and they are searching for a source. So far, officers arrested 4 people who were near-by and in possession of some of the spice.

Campos said one of the most concerning issues from the incident is that many of the sick users tried to run from first responders when they arrived to help; likely in fear of getting arrested for having the drug.
However, he said at the point a person is having a medical emergency, their only concern is getting that person help.

"There are laws that protect you from being arrested for possession of a narcotic, because our sole purpose at that point is to get you the medical assistance you need,” said Campos.