News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, March 8, 2013
Spice originally used a compound called JWH-018, one that has a similar molecular structure to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Georgia outlawed that compound in 2010. (WRDW-TV / Sept. 15, 2011)
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's a dangerous drug that keeps changing, making it harder for law enforcement to catch. But, thanks to a new law, that could change.
Sgt. Allan Rollins with the Narcotics Division at the Richmond County Sheriff's Office says, "Right on the package, it says not for human consumption, and in police work, we call that a clue."
But, despite that obvious clue, that hasn't stopped people from finding ways to smoke spice, a synthetic form of marijuana with dangerous consequences.
"Most people don't get to see the aftereffects. Sometimes, it's induced a stroke or where they're having physical problems because they're putting these dangerous chemicals into their body," Rollins said.
There have been several spice busts at stores in our area, but it's difficult to keep it off shelves.Those who make spice keep changing the makeup of the drug to dodge the law.
"We've run up on it numerous occasions, and we have to take it and send it to the crime lab to have it identified to see whether it's one of the controlled substances or not because it changed so much," Rollins said.
This is where House Bill 57 comes in.
"Because the formulation keeps changing, they've made the law to where it's flexible. And as long as it's changing in little increments, the law will change with it and keep it illegal," Rollins said.
This law will also make all forms of spice Schedule I drugs, right up there with drugs like heroin and cocaine.
The ever-changing makeup worries law enforcement.
"It takes the FDA years to approve even aspirin changes, so this stuff, changing the formula every other week, would never pass inspection for human consumption. These people have no idea what they're putting in their system," Rollins said.
And, some of the chemicals the GBI has found in this stuff are scary. Some are even deadly.
"Some of these chemicals wouldn't even be allowed to be inside the house as a household cleaner," he said.
House Bill 57 has passed in the House and Senate, and now, all it needs is the governor's signature to go into effect.