LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - South Mississippi narcotics agents say it's hard to get Spice out of the hands of children when clever manufacturers are managing to stay one step ahead of the law.
Back in 2010, Mississippi made the sale and possession of Spice illegal.
"The spice laws have helped in our being able to go out and affect arrests and conduct investigations," said Aldon Helmert with the Biloxi Police Department. "However, because people are always trying to elude law enforcement there have been changes to the actual chemical compounds used in the manufacture of Spice."
At a Gulf Coast Substance Abuse Task Force meeting in Long Beach, narcotics agents said savvy manufacturers are swapping out banned ingredients for legal ones, without sacrificing the high. Local law enforcement agencies said to combat Spice more effectively they need help from state lawmakers.
Hancock County Sheriff's Department Director of Narcotics Jeremy Skinner said, "I think that if legislation was much simplified, or if everybody from law enforcement, to the district attorney's office, to the state crime labs can get on the same page and work together, that would help a lot."
"Also the community can help by not supporting places that sell Spice to children and other people," Skinner said.
Narcotics agents said because Spice is often sold over the counter, it's more likely to end up in the hands of children.
"In the last several weeks, we've had multiple juveniles who have overdosed," Skinner said. "They had to go to the hospital on this. When you see children thinking because it's sold in the store that it's okay and that it won't hurt them, it's so far from the truth. We're having a lot of people that are getting extremely sick and getting overdose-like symptoms from it."