Rehab, Outreach Center sees spike in synthetic marijuana use

"They cannot control their actions."
Posted at 7:09 PM, Jul 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-15 19:09:20-04
Spice, a synthetic form of marijuana, is becoming a growing problem in parts of Fort Myers. 
"We've seen a lot of increase in the use of spice and individuals that look like they're on it," said Shannon Cherizier, Salvation Army Fort Myers spokesperson. 
The drug known as Spice or K2 can ravage your body.  A man who did not want to be identified told Fox 4 he has experienced the drug's harmful effects. 
"I tried it one time. All I remember is that I was on the ground and the ambulance came and they said 'Did you know you were on spice?" and I said yea, pretty much I did."
His- who also wanted to remain anonymous - had a similar story. 
"I felt dizzy, so I fell down and I went to the hospital and stuff like that."
They both get help from the Salvation Army Outreach Center in Fort Myers, where a cell phone video taken earlier this week showed a man high on the drug. 
Cherizier told Fox 4 says some have acted violently while on the drug. 
"They cannot control their actions and they can not be calmed down," said Cherizier. 
In April, undercover officers busted the Lotus Shop in Fort Myers for selling the drug. The owner, Adnan Yousuf Virani was arrested and charged for possession and selling synthetic marijuana. Over 400 packages of spice were confiscated from the business. 
Marley's Smoke Shop has now replaced the Lotus Smoke Shop; they are not affiliated with the Virani. A former Lotus manager now works for new shop. 
"I worked here and didn't know it happened. If it's illegal get it out, it's not worth it," said  Vanessa Tew, Co-Manager Marley's Smoke Shop. 
The drug doesn't consist of marijuana but rather other plants that is sprayed with a potentially deadly cocktail of chemicals. 
By in large, 90% of it is chemicals that are fillers," said Brandon Short, Psychiatrist White Sands Treatment Center.
Short told Fox 4 spice, which is often marketed to attract children, is growing in popularity because it's cheap and doesn't appear on most drug tests. 
"Synthetic drugs are coming out more because they're able to stay one step ahead of law enforcement. So what they'll do is they'll alter the chemical makeup, the molecular makeup of this, deeming it not illegal yet, " said Short.
Synthetic marijuana is illegal in Florida. A man who was hospitalized after trying it had this advice: "Do not try it, don't smoke it. Leave it alone."