‘Spice’ making homeless ill
SYNTHETIC marijuana is suspected to be behind an illness that has sent dozens of homeless people from a downtown Los Angeles neighbourhood to emergency rooms in recent days, authorities said.
Eighteen people from the Skid Row homeless district were treated by firefighters on August 22 and 14 were taken to hospitals.
That came after the department evaluated about 50 people in the neighbourhood on August 19, transporting 38 to hospitals.
Although the cause of the illnesses has not yet been confirmed by toxicology tests, authorities said it was likely a type of synthetic marijuana called “spice”.
Television news showed men passed out in the street, many of them being treated by firefighters or other health personnel.
“Because it’s synthetic, nobody for sure knows what active ingredients are in there. The strength is variable,” said Marc Eckstein, the fire department’s medical director.
He said the problem is a “public health crisis” in Los Angeles, home to the largest population of homeless people in the United States. –