‘Spice’ mak­ing home­less ill

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

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