Nearly 100 hospitalized with issues linked to synthetic drug

MONTGOMERY, ALA. 

Alabama public health officials say nearly 100 people have been hospitalized for issues linked to synthetic marijuana known as "spice."

The Alabama Department of Public Health said in a statement Wednesday that at least 98 people have been hospitalized in the past month with symptoms linked to spice use.

Spice, also known as K2, is a mixture of herbs and spices that are mixed with chemicals to mimic the effects of marijuana, according to the DEA. Federal officials say users smoke the synthetic drug in joints or pipes and also make it into tea.

Department of Public Health officials say the long-term health impacts of using spice are unclear since the substances aren't used in mainstream medicine.

Officials say rapid heart rate, vomiting and hallucinations are among the symptoms.