Number of synthetic drug hospitalizations climbs to 88

The number of Anchorage residents transported to the hospital due health problems stemming from the use of a synthetic drug called spice continues to climb.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports that the Anchorage Fire Department says its emergency medical responders have picked up 88 people in the past 10 days who were known or suspected to have used the drug.

Assistant Chief Erich Scheunemann says those patients represent about 17 percent of the department’s total number of transports during that period.

Police announced last week that they had seen at least 30 hospitalizations related to the drug. They are investigating the recent spike in Spice use.

Spice was once sold in gas stations and convenience stores and marketed as incense or potpourri. City and state lawmakers have banned the drug.