JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – Law enforcers and healthcare professionals in Jackson County agree that the recent ban on the synthetic drug, "Spice" has been a major success. The county outlawed Spice in July. And just last week, Governor Barbour signed a state-wide bill into law.
Before Spice was outlawed, the commander of the Jackson County Narcotics Task Force said 80 percent of the county's convenience stores carried the substance. Now, Commander Curtis Spiers said the marijuana like herb is disappearing.
"The stores that were selling it, we have sent confidential sources in and as of the ordinance, and especially with the governor signing it into law, they have removed from their shelves. It is no longer available."
Spiers also points out that only two people have been arrested for Spice possession in the past two months.
"The public awareness campaign through the media has really helped just make people aware that this stuff is dangerous," Spiers said.
Working in the Singing River Hospital Emergency Room, Dr. Greg Patino saw his fair share of users with medical problems back when Spice was readily available.
"We started seeing people who were having seizures, having a loss of consciousness, elevation of their heart rate and problems of that nature," Patino said.
But things have changed since the new law passed.
"I haven't personally seen any since the institute of the ban. And speaking with my partners, they haven't mentioned anyone to come in the recent past."
Patino and Spiers believe the Spice crackdown was necessary to save lives, and they said it's time for neighboring states to follow Mississippi's lead.
"If they will, we can get this stuff out of the United States completely," Spiers said.
"We need to get that away from our young people and just away from our population in general," Patino said.
Under the new state law, violators could get up to three years in prison and fines of $3,000 for possessing Spice. Retailers have until October first to send any Spice they currently have back to their distributors.