ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - For the second time in three days, paramedics responded to a park in St. Pete to check out people who had apparently smoked the drug known as "Spice."
The synthetic form of marijuana has caused dozens of overdoses in Pinellas County since last week. St. Pete police say most of those have been in the homeless community, so today, they went to Unity Park to hand out flyers, warning of the dangers of Spice -- and that's when they came across a couple that had been using it.
The woman was incoherent and so was her boyfriend, passed out next to her. She eventually came around enough to tell police they had smoked Spice.
Police called paramedics, who checked their vitals. The couple didn't need further treatment, unlike about a dozen people found in the park on Saturday -- vomiting and having seizures. Some of them had to be hospitalized.
Since last Thursday, police say, they've had 28 calls for suspected Spice overdoses. Police believe the overdoses are being caused by the same batch of Spice that has caused overdoses in Clearwater and Tampa over the past two weeks. It's being rolled into cigarettes and sold to the homeless for a dollar per cigarette.
At this point, police don't know exactly what's in it or why it's causing such negative effects. They just want people to stay away from it before someone dies.
It's also putting a strain on public resources: Aside from police and paramedics answering medical calls, local detox facilities are full.
St. Pete police have sent 40 people to Turning Point, where they normally have only 25 beds reserved for the city's indigent patients.