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Sep 27, 2013 6:33 PM by Kathy Kuretich

DEA: Synthetic marijuana, spice" use on the rise

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, agents have seen big increases in the number of people smoking spice, a synthetic marijuana, over the past five years.

It's also known as K2, potpourri, and incense.

It's marketed as safe, looks like marijuana, and intended to get you high.
but DEA Special Agent Sarah Pullen said, it's anything but safe. It's made by spraying chemicals on dried plants.
"These chemical compounds are a huge variety of things from hallucinogens, to stimulants."

The effects can be dangerous, even deadly. According to a government report out last year, spice can cause seizures, hallucinations, kidney failure, rapid heart rate, and resulted in more than 11,000 trips to the emergency room in 2010.

The effects of the drug are similar to someone on heroin, not marijuana, and according to police, they're finding more drivers under the influence.

In the last four months, San Luis Obispo Police tells KSBY, officers have arrested four drivers for suspicion of driving under the influence of spice.

Captain Chris Staley of the San Luis Obispo Police Department said one of the spice arrests happened after a driver was going the wrong way on the street, and another arrest took three to four officers to place the suspect in handcuffs.
"(The suspect) was fighting, screaming, kicking, trying to bite the officers, he said. People on spice are often combative."

Five chemical compounds commonly found in spice were banned last year, but Special Agent Pullen said, manufacturers try to stay ahead of the law by changing the formula.
"One tiny little molecule change makes it a different compound which doesn't then fall under the scheduling or the illegality of it."

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