At least a dozen people were treated after smoking synthetic marijuana known as 'spice' in downtown San Diego, San Diego Police (SDPD) said.
The incident happened at 2:52 p.m. on the 1200 block of Imperial Avenue near Petco Park, though the first call came in at 10 a.m., the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) and San Diego Police (SDPD) said.
The patients were treated after they were suspected of smoking or overdosing on a "bad batch" of the drug, police said. Those officials treated suffered varying symptoms, including collapsing, respiratory distress to seizures and a loss of consciousness.
"We have seen everything from mild status just anxiety, to patients unconscious, actively seizing, having difficulty breathing, that have been in life threatening situations that were transported to local hospitals," said David Gerboth Battalion Chief with SDFD.
Two patients were taken to the hospital, while others were treated at the scene. Medics at the scene are looking for more patients at the scene.
"We're still trying to work through this, trying to find out exactly where it's coming from and more importantly get some of it, sample see if we can do a toxicology on it," said Sgt. Edwin Garrette with SDPD.
Police have not said if the 'spice' came from a singular bag or not.
The drug, a hallucinogenic, consists of dried plant material sprayed with laboratory-produced cannabinoids and is used as an alternative to smoking marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is popular among teens and young adults and has been linked to altered mental status, increased heart rate and acute kidney injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Synthetic marijuana or spice can cause hallucination, psychosis and agitation.
Last week, medics received 13 calls related to spice. This week, they received 20.
The reports come approximately a week after more than a dozen, the youngest victim 13-years-old, were treated and some taken to the hospital after consuming a tainted batch of 'spice'.
The SDFD said recent incidents have shown how prevalent spice use is right now across the county.
No further information was immediately available.
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