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For Immediate Release:
August 23, 2016
For more information contact:
Public Health Communications
(213) 240-8144

Public Health Issues Warning against a Synthetic Drug called "Spice"

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is issuing a warning against the use of "Spice," a synthetic cannabinoid drug that can cause severe side effects such as altered mental status, loss of consciousness, extreme anxiety, agitation, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, nausea/vomiting, seizures and death. The drug has been gaining popularity in recent years, and is the likely cause of the recent overdose reports in the Downtown Los Angeles area.

This drug is extremely harmful and not much is known about what goes into making Spice. Reports of serious reactions to synthetic marijuana use have increased recently and may be due to the mixing of the already dangerous drug with other toxic substances. Although all illicit drug use should be avoided, persons using "Spice" are further cautioned due to these increased reports of overdoses that are under investigation by the Department.

Synthetic marijuana has several street names in addition to "Spice," including Sexy Monkey, Black Mamba, and Twilight among other names. Synthetic cannabinoids include various psychoactive chemicals or a mixture of such chemicals that are sprayed onto plant material, which is then smoked or ingested.

For more information on synthetic marijuana visit:

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic -cannabinoids
  • California Poison Control (http://www.calpoison.org/)

For information on drug abuse prevention and treatment, visit the Public Health Substance Abuse Prevention and Control page at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/sapc or call 626-299-3504. Additionally, the Poison Help Hotline offers free, confidential services 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (800) 222-1222.

Call 911 immediately if someone stops breathing, collapses, or has a seizure. These symptoms can be life threatening and require immediate medical attention.

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about the LA County Department of Public Health and the work they do, visit PublicHealth.LACounty.gov, and follow Public Health on social media at twitter.com/LAPublicHealth, facebook.com/LAPublicHealth, and youtube.com/LAPublicHealth.