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City of Tucson combats growing "spice" problem

Posted at 11:42 PM, Jul 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 02:52:24-04
More than 600 pounds of synthetic drugs were taken off the streets of Tucson on Wednesday. Local law enforcement agencies teamed up with the DEA in a drug raid throughout Pima County. The sweep comes following an increase in 911 calls and deaths related to the drug "spice.
 
 
"It is causing psychosis, it's killing some people," said city council member Steve Kozachik. "It's causing seizures and so people think this is sort of a benign herbal spice. It's anything but that."
 
The synthetic drug is made by spraying chemicals onto a plant based material and can often be bought at smoke shops. Nine On Your Side spoke to one woman who wished to stay anonymous. She says the problem is worse than people think.
 
"It's easy. I mean, it doesn't matter how old you are, you can walk in and as long as you a have money they'll sell it to you."
 
Although spice is illegal manufacturers keep finding loopholes. 
 
"Our crime lab has 17 pages of banned substances," said Kozachik. "They've also got seven pages of substances that the manufacturers keep staying one step ahead of the law and changing one or two of the chemical components. So what was banned yesterday is all of a sudden legal on the street tomorrow."
 
He says the city is working to fix that.
 
"My goal is to draft a much broader ordinance that allows us as a city to get out ahead  of the emerging chemicals. As they change the chemical composition, we're gonna say, no we're gonna ban those as well."
 
Kozachick is proposing the ordinance to at a study-session in September.