Los Angeles City Council passes motion to stop sale of spice amid overdoses

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles City Council passed an emergency motion Friday to stop the sale of spice, a synthetic form of marijuana that has resulted in dozens of overdoses among the homeless community.

Councilman Mitchell Englander, chair of the public safety committee, submitted the motion during the council's morning meeting.

Spice has become popular among the homeless population on Skid Row. On Aug. 19, 50 people were evaluated after falling ill from the drug and 38 were hospitalized. A similar incident happened Monday with 18 people overdosing on the drug.

During Friday's meeting, Englander said the most recent incident on Skid Row became a real concern once first responders began arriving.

"People were scared. It became what looked like a warzone. The first responders down there, they were scared. The social workers that are working with the folks down there, they were scared," he said.

Officials called the rise of spice overdoses during the summer a public health crisis and said a team effort would be needed to come up with a solution.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also issued a warning against the use of spice, saying it is extremely harmful and it is unclear what exactly is in the synthetic strain of pot.

The drug is commonly referred to as spice, but can also be known as sexy monkey, black mamba and twilight, according to the health department.

Since the chemical recipe is constantly changing, Englander and Councilman Jose Huizar want legislation to ban any chemicals that can cause severe symptoms similar to what spice does.

They said they are primarily after the people who are making and selling the drugs, which at some points can contain household chemicals such as Raid.
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