TPD: Education, treatment key to fighting spice epidemic

TPD: Education, treatment key to fighting spice epidemic

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Tucson Fire Department said its medics responded to 78 spice calls in July.

But after a recent multi-agency raid at three businesses selling the drug, the number of calls related to spice dropped to 16 in August. Despite the decrease in calls, city leaders are not stopping their fight against spice.

Lieutenant James Scott with the Tucson Police Department said he agrees with some city leaders in that the fight against the spice comes from education and treatment.

"We could arrest people every day of the week and put them in jail. It doesn't solve the problem. Ideally, we can educate these people who use these types of drugs before they even try them. Before they become addicted," Scott said.

He said education is important because not all users know the drug they're using is a combination of chemicals that could have dangerous consequences.

Abraham Gable is one of them. Gable said he tried spice, not knowing what would happen.

"I didn't know if I should call 911 or just lay there on the floor," Gable said. "They call it synthetic marijuana but it's nothing like marijuana. Your body just hurts really bad all over. You don't know where you are, or what you're doing or anything at the time that you're doing it."

Cracking down on suppliers and manufacturers also plays a part in prevention, something Lt. Scott said is hard to do because of the ever changing chemical compounds found in spice.

"Making it easier for us as a police department to maybe shut some of these places down, make arrests...before we have to wait for the legislation to get ahead of it and actually ban some of these chemicals," Scott said.

City Council is set to discuss spice and related products at Wednesday's study session.

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