Columbus County Sheriff says 'spice' drug worse than crack cocai - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Columbus County Sheriff says 'spice' drug worse than crack cocaine

Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher says synthetic marijuana - often called “spice” - is especially popular with teenager and young adults. (Source: WECT) Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher says synthetic marijuana - often called “spice” - is especially popular with teenager and young adults. (Source: WECT)
WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) -

Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher reports "drastic results" from a drug he says is "worse than crack cocaine."

The drug, often called "spice," is especially popular with teenagers and young adults, he said. According to Hatcher, at least three area teenagers have required emergency treatment after overdosing in recent weeks.  

Part of what makes the smokable synthetic marijuana so dangerous is its often unknown and ever-changing list of ingredients.

"You don't know what's in it," Hatcher said. "We don't know if it's sprayed with rat poison. We don't know if it's sprayed with Drano."

Hatcher says much of the synthetic marijuana sold in Columbus County comes from stores in neighboring South Carolina, where drug makers skirt the law by renaming or swapping out ingredients.

"If you can go right across the line and buy it and then bring it right back across the line and use it or dispense it, then that makes it that much harder for us to control," he said.

Sheriff's office personnel recently set-up checkpoints in local hot spots, including the Wal-Mart parking lot in Whiteville. They arrested eight people, all under the age of 21, on charges related to spice.

A national survey conducted in 2013 by the University of Michigan found fewer teens using synthetic marijuana over the previous year. Still, nearly eight percent of high school seniors admitted to using the drug.

Hatcher is calling on parents of teenagers to watch for signs of spice use, including sleeping at odd hours and binging on food.

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