DEA: Spice cases on the rise - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

DEA: Spice cases on the rise

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

More information has been released about the synthetic drugs the DEA targeted during a nationwide raid on Wednesday. The Alabama Department of Public Health says the number of cases they are seeing involving "spice" is on the rise.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) says, so far in 2014, they have seen 20 cases involving "spice," which is just one street name for synthetic drugs. Other names include K-2, Spice Gold, Genie, Yucatan Fire, Smoke, Sexy Monkey, Black Mamba and Skunk.

The ADPH says it saw a spike in cases in 2011. The numbers declined in 2012 and 2013 but now they are up again. Since October 2010, the regional Poison Control Center at Children's of Alabama has received 173 calls about synthetic drugs.

-160 of those calls were exposures

- 95 of those people had to be treated at a hospital for toxic exposure; 26 of those were admitted and another half of that number had to be treated in critical care units

-Majority of callers were males

- 67 calls were for people 13-19 years of age

- 52 calls were for peopel 20-29 years of age

Symptoms from the drugs include rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, hallucinations, and kidney and respiratory problems. Several people have even died from smoking or ingesting the synthetic drugs.

"Fifteen to twenty-five is a big age for abusing these designer synthetic drugs, but again, we are being used as human guinea pigs," said Rusty Payne, with the DEA. "These chemists overseas and these chemical factories, they're just coming up with all kinds of different formulations trying to see what works and what sticks.

None of these things have any legitimate use. There's no industrial use, there's no medical use. Solely manufactured for consumption for people to abuse and get high from and, unfortunately, you never know what you're gonna get. People that are abusing these drugs are playing Russian roulette."

Thursday's raids in Alabama were called "Operation Red Tide." It was part of a larger nationwide bust called "Project Synergy." The DEA says it targeted homes, warehouses, and smoke shops that were "red flagged" because they wired millions of dollars to countries overseas. The DEA says that money likely funded terrorism and terrorist activity.

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