'Spice' a growing problem in Portales school

Posted at: 09/26/2013 7:10 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A dangerous drug is making its way inside a New Mexico high school.  In just the past month, several teens in Portales had to be rushed to the hospital after taking spice.  It’s a growing problem that the community is coming together to try to stop.

Spice has become a serious problem at Portales High School.

“They’ll just be sitting in class and the teacher will be giving lessons and all of a sudden they'll just start puking everywhere, pass out, fall over their desk, quit breathing," said Portales High School senior Clay Lee.

Four students had to be rushed to the hospital after being found hallucinating by the bathrooms or vomiting inside classrooms.  Assistant Principal Garrick Matthews told KOB Eyewitness News 4 the students were so high, they didn’t even know their names.

"The condition those students were in was something I had never encountered.  They would be nonresponsive at times, they were unable to identify themselves, or unable to identify people they should have known," said Matthews.

Three other teens were taken to the hospital over the weekend for similar symptoms.  This week Roosevelt County deputies busted a smoke shop for selling what they believe to be spice.

 “We did take most of the smoking materials out of both shops so there's not much left," said Roosevelt County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Malin Parker.

Deputies took hundreds of packages from the store, but some people in the community want more.  They’ve started a Facebook page.

Even local businesses have gotten involved.  A consignment store downtown is asking customers at the front counter to sign a petition to make spice illegal.

“We're really wanting to get synthetic marijuana out of the community completely," said consignment store clerk Elly Marez.

Deputies are hoping they’re bust will make a difference, at least for now.

“We’re thinking it will slow it down for a while, until they figure out another way to sell this stuff legally," said Parker.

So far, no criminal charges have been filed against the smoke shops.  Deputies said the packages they took will be sent to a lab for testing to verify if it is indeed spice.