TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (WHNT) - The battle continues to wage in the war against spice across the state of Alabama.
Police said the fight has now reached the schoolhouse.
In the last week, four individuals in Tuscumbia have overdosed, two of them being middle school students.
“It’s a situation which happened in my neighborhood. I was aware of it and it’s very alarming,” stated Tuscumbia Schools Superintendent Mary Kate Smith.
The story of two students from Deshler Middle School overdosing on spice has swept through the city.
According to police they received a medical distress call for the kids at an apartment complex were one was convulsing, the other was very sick.
One of the kids told police they had smoked a leafy substance and investigators immediately knew it was spice.
“You do not know what is on there,” explained Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan. “The chemicals we have seen and experienced are rat poison, pesticides; they are all poisons and toxins. And these toxic materials can be easily absorbed and they are very fatal.”
Superintendent Smith said it’s heartbreaking to know two young students would try smoking something like spice.
But Smith said she’s not naïve either.
“Kids are curious, they want to be popular, they want to fit in,” Smith said. “Unfortunately some of the choices they make have very, very detrimental consequences.”
The school system and police department have formed a task force to address concerns facing students.
Recently the group discussed spice and its sudden arrival in the Shoals.
And with summer coming, they hope to educate more students and parents of the dangers before kids have too much time on their hands.
“The biggest thing is to look at changes in their behavior. With kids and young adults, when they are using a substance like this, it’s going to alter their behavior severely,” said Chief Tony Logan.
According to Tuscumbia police, the two students have been released from Huntsville Hospital.
A law enforcement summit is being planned for next week in the Shoals to help gather information to shut-down the spice trade hitting the area.
Alabama hospitals say between March 15 and April 20, 462 patients were seen due to ingesting or smoking "spice." Of those, 96 people were hospitalized and two died.