Clearwater Police: Spice abuse 'unprecedented'

- Investigators in Clearwater described a scene out of The Walking Dead; people slumped over in such a stupefied state they could hardly move or speak. It was a patrol becoming too routine in Crest Lake Park as officers respond to a growing number of Spice, or synthetic marijuana, overdose calls.

Police say dozens of calls have come in for people who have had to be rushed to the hospital because of suspected Spice use. Tampa medical and law enforcement professionals warned last week about a dangerous uptick in overdoses possibly linked to a bad batch of the drug. Clearwater investigators aren't ruling out a connection to the Tampa cases.

On Wednesday, investigators say, there were three overdoses. No deaths have been attributed to Spice use in Clearwater, according to officials.

The calls center around Crest Lake Park and the homeless people that spend time there, police say.

Officers have encountered violent individuals, those having convulsions and several who are unresponsive.

"We have noticed a serious uptick of Spice incidents lately that have turned into medical calls and it's become a serious drain on resources for the police department for the fire department and then in turn for doctors say at Morton Plant Hospital where the patients end up," said police spokesman Rob Shaw.

Police are teaming up with medical professionals to work on a solution to the explosion of Spice-related cases. They hope they can solve the problem before someone else is hurt or killed.

"You wonder when somebody's going to have a heart attack and die from some of these substances," said Shaw.

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