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18 People On Skid Row Hospitalized After Ingesting Spice

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18 people on Skid Row, most of whom are homeless, were hospitalized after ingesting Spice, a synthetic marijuana that costs about $1 or less per joint, and is mixed with various psychoactive chemicals that can cause psychotic episodes, and even death.

City News Service reports that firefighters and paramedics were called to the 200 block of East Fifth Street Friday around 10 a.m. after reports that several people had experienced excessive sweating and accelerated heart rates. Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department told the AP that other symptoms included poor muscular coordination, slurred speech and vomiting.

Dr. Michael Levine, director for toxicology at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where those sickened were taken confirmed with the L.A. Daily News that they had ingested Spice.

Pam Walls, who works at the Downtown Women's Center on Skid Row, told the Daily News that Spice is everywhere in the area, saying, "You breathe it in and it burns your nostrils." She also said that this batch seemed especially strong: "It's not like regular Spice; this is 100 times more potent."

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According to KTLA, all of the illnesses were non-life threatening.

In April, 14 people on Skid Row were also hospitalized after a new ingredient was possibly added to a batch of spice.

At the time, Rev. Andy Bales with the Union Rescue Mission told ABC-7:

We've dealt with alcohol for years. We've dealt with crack cocaine. We've dealt with heroin. We've dealt with meth. But spice — and people using spice — is the most unpredictable drug we've ever had to come up against in our work.

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