MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health organized a Monday hearing to discuss the dangers of the designer drug, "Spice."
Spice is a synthetic chemical compound comparable to other substances that have received the department's attention in the past. Dr. Don Williamson, the Public Health Officer for the State of Alabama says spice is responsible for at least two deaths and has been found in the possession of numerous minors.
"We heard other anecdotal stories of serious health consequences from people smoking spice," Williamson said. "We heard about it being found in lockers at elementary schools. None of those are situations that you want to continue."
Lori and Steve Murphree testified at the hearing about their son Brandon who committed suicide in July. "We are 110% it had to do with spice," Lori Murphree said.
The Murphree said their son Brandon began to smoke spice in the Spring shortly before he graduated college. Steve, Brandon's father, said his behavior began to grow more erratic and out of control. He said Brandon would go through drastic, uncharacteristic mood swings.
Steve Murphree said one day in July his son found his pistol beneath his mattress and committed suicide.
Lori Murphree said "We lost our own child due to spice."
"Immediately take it out of the store," Steve Murphree said.
Williamson with ADPH said the only way to prevent more events like those that happened to the Murphree family's lone son is to remove it from the shelves at gas stations and convenience stores.
According to law enforcement, spice only costs about $20 in stores and is typically marketed toward younger buyers. Some showcased at the hearing even had University of Alabama and Auburn University markings on the small, candy-like packaging.
State lawmakers present at the hearing said they intended to renew their efforts to outlaw spice and other similar chemical compounds during the 2012 legislative session, unless there is a Special Session called sooner.
A bill that would have addressed spice was killed during the 2011 session.