14 Skid Row overdoses in 3 days from new ingredient in spice, Rescue Mission says

SKID ROW, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For the second time in three days, several people were rushed to the hospital after apparent overdoses on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.

Officials said synthetic marijuana, also known as "spice," was believed to be the drug of choice again and it may be due to a new ingredient being added to the already dangerous compound.

"Spice has been an epidemic, and now with this extra ingredient, it's possibly a deadly epidemic," Rev. Andy Bales with the Union Rescue Mission said.

Bales said a new homemade creation being combined with synthetic marijuana and sold on Skid Row created an alarming trend. He said at least 14 people have overdosed on spice along Skid Row in the last three days.

On Friday, six people were over found unconscious on the corner of 5th and San Pedro streets.

A Los Angeles police officer who responded to the scene to help also had to be taken to the hospital after he became dizzy due to the smoke and fumes.

On Sunday, four people were found unconscious on the corner of 5th and San Pedro streets.

"Smells like marijuana, with some plastic and rubber mixed in, it's just a horrible smell that I've chocked on a few times, but this seems to have an additive ingredient that is causing people to keel over who come near the smoke," Bales said.

Authorities said they don't know what is being added to the synthetic marijuana, which itself is made out of cheap ingredients like potpourri or bath salts, but they do know the price: $1 or less per joint.

That's why officials said it's becoming so popular as dealers prey on low income addicts along Skid Row.

The four victims rushed to the hospital Sunday were taken in serious condition, but are expected to survive.

Bales said as the number of people on Skid Row continues to grow, more than doubling in the last two years, so will the drug issues. Ultimately he said it will hurt more than just those found overdosing in the streets.

"If we continue to leave Skid Row the way it is, who knows what kind of epidemic could grow out of so many people living so close together doing so many things that are unhealthy," Bales said.
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.