Fourteen People Hospitalized On Skid Row In Second Incident This Week
At least 14 people were hospitalized Monday morning in downtown Los Angeles after falling ill, possibly from an illicit substance or intoxicant. This is the second multi-patient incident on Skid Row in the past week; on Friday, 18 people were hospitalized and at least 50 were sickened during a similar incident. NBC 4 reports that police are investigating the source of the illnesses and believe that it's possibly connected to the synthetic drug Spice.
Emergency crews arrived to the 400 block of E. 5th Street, just north of San Pedro Street, around 10:30 a.m. Monday. LAFD spokesperson Margaret Stewart told LAist that six people were initially transported to local hospitals while the Fire Department canvassed the area, looking for others who had fallen ill. As of 12:20 p.m., 18 people had been evaluated on the scene and 14 had been transported for hospitalization, according to Stewart.
Stewart told LAist that the LAFD couldn't yet make any definitive connection between today's incident and Friday's mass hospitalization. "All we can say is that there were some similar symptoms," Stewart said.
Back in April, eight people—including one LAPD officer—were hospitalized in another Spice-related incident. The officer was believed to have been sickened through an "odor in the air," according to the L.A. Times.
Update [1:40 p.m.]: The LAFD has confirmed that they are investigating today's incident as being related to the synthetic drug Spice, reports ABC 7. "We don't have toxicological confirmation, but it's presumably spice, which is a synthetic type of cannabis or marijuana. And of course, because it's synthetic, nobody for sure knows what active ingredients are in there, the strength is variable," Dr. Marc Eckstein, the Los Angeles Fire Department medical director and EMS bureau commander told ABC 7.