As Mobile stays under the cloud of what police are calling a spice epidemic, first responders are gearing up for a continued influx of emergency calls. Newman’s Ambulance Company started seeing an increase in spice related calls a week and a half ago. At its worst, they got up to 50 in one night.
It’s not uncommon for the advanced medics at Newman’s Ambulance Company in Mobile to get emergency calls for chest pains and cardiac arrest. What is uncommon is the age groups and frequency of the calls that have been coming in over the last two weeks.
“You’re getting everything from young teenagers to twenties, thirties…even some forty and fifty year olds and it kind of throws a red flag up,” said Advanced Medic, Lee Edgeworth.
Edgeworth and his co-workers with Newman’s Ambulance Company have been busy running on spice related emergencies…as many as 50 in one night. They are on the front lines of what public safety officials are calling an epidemic breakout of spice use on the streets of Mobile County. Symptoms have included everything from shortness of breath to hallucinations and even cardiac arrest. Some patients have reacted so badly that they’ve gone into fits of rage, refusing help.
Many patients have had to be restrained inside the ambulance. Some of those have been so violent that medics said they were able to break free of their restraints.
“And then you’re kind of in the back of the ambulance by yourself with someone who is completely altered. They don’t know what’s going on and it’s just a scary situation,” said Advanced Medic, Erin Sands.
Medics described incidents where it took at least four people over an hour just to deal with one out of control spice patient. It’s an unsafe situation for all involved and the scary part is that nobody knows when it will end.
“We have kind of been up stocking our trucks on certain IV medications, certain supplies and things like that that are becoming very helpful dealing with these kind of calls,” said Edgeworth.
In the meantime, these first responders have a plea for all those who may know someone involved with spice.
Please talk to your kids. Talk to your friends. Let them know that this is a very serious, life threatening issue that’s going on here,” Edgewater explained.
“Just don’t do it. It’s not worth your life for that temporary high,” Sands said.
Medics at Newman’s Ambulance said the biggest challenge in helping spice patients has been keeping their crews and patients safe because no spice reaction is the same.