Andalusia pair arrested for Spice

Published 12:04 am Friday, April 17, 2015

A large sum of drugs, including Spice, landed an Andalusia pair in jail earlier this week.

On Tuesday, agents with the 22nd Judicial Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at a County Road 70 residence.

DTF Agent Greg Jackson said agents had received multiple complaints of drug activity at the residence.

Quinton Shufford and Ashley McLain, both of Andalusia, were arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

“During the search of the residence, agents located synthetic marijuana, also known as Spice, cocaine, crack cocaine, hydrocodone and Xanax.

A large amount of money and a firearm were also seized.

“There were approximately 30 ounces of Spice recovered,” Jackson said.

Jackson said once DTF agents get a lab report back, charges will be updated to reflect the synthetic marijuana.

“DTF will continue to work to fight the war on drugs to keep them off our streets,” Jackson said. “It’s important that the public understand that Spice is dangerous. People are overdosing on it.”

In fact, the Alabama Department of Public Health said that 98 people have presented at Alabama hospitals in the last month with drug overdoses suspicious of being caused by synthetic marijuana.

“We want the public to be aware of the toxic effects and other dangers associated with synthetic marijuana use,” Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer, said.

Locally, Andalusia Regional Hospital ER director Amy Herrington lsaid ast month the hospital saw two cases of people using Spice.

“They were definitely having some issues, which is what brought them in there,” Herrington said. “You never know how anyone with Spice is going to react because you don’t know what’s in it. If they don’t tell us what they were taking, it’s a needle in a hay stack trying to figure it out.”

The designer drug substances consist of dried plant material sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids. The chemical compounds reportedly stimulate the same brain areas affected by marijuana, and they have a high potential for abuse.

Users may opt for these marijuana alternatives because they believe they cannot be detected by a standard drug screenings.

ADPH said there are hundreds of different variants of the drug, and are commonly marketed under names such as “Spice,” “K2,” “Spice Gold,” “Sence,” “Genie,” “Zohai,” “Yucatan Fire,” “Smoke,” “Sexy Monkey,” “Black Mamba” and “Skunk.”

“Although the medical side effects are not fully known, they could include anxiety attacks, seizures, hallucinations, nauseas, increased heart rate, paranoia and suicidal thoughts,” Williamson said. “Other symptoms include agitation, severe depression, addiction and uncontrollable rage and aggression.”

Herrington said the right treatment method for those suffering from the effects of Spice use is “supportive care.”

“We’ll monitor their breathing, and if need be, give them IV fluids,” she said.

Keeping the patient hydrated is essential because their caloric intake drops when on the drug.

“We’ll watch them, and if they’re having problems, we’ll give them meds to calm them down sometimes,” Herrington said.