Tainted spice: 40 hospitalized, many with severe bleeding after taking synthetic drug in Tampa Bay

Local News

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, is sending dozens of people to hospitals in Tampa Bay, according to Florida’s Poison Control Centers.

The center’s managing director, Alfred Alegaus told 8 On Your Side the contaminated drug is being sold locally in Tampa Bay.

“We have already notified the ERs. What we want to do is get the message out of the public that this stuff is out there,” he said.

Alegaus said the center was made aware of 40 people who purchased the synthetic drug and ended up in the hospital.

“We have to make sure the patients have an adequate supply of the antidote when they get discharged because it’s also very expensive. We’ve had some patients that have signed themselves out against medical advice and then re-presented at an emergency room eve nworse than they were before,” Alegaus added.

Some of their symptoms include severe bleeding from the nose and gums and blood in the stool.

“If you happen to cut yourself shaving you know, how you usually clot within a minute or two, it would bleed for hours,” Alegaus said.

He said a spice outbreak in 2018 poisoned more than 300 people across multiple states. One person in the Tampa Bay area died.

“The issue is that they never know what they’re getting,” Alegaus said.

No deaths have been reported in connection to the recent outbreak.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says they’re aware of the issue.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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