JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It looks like a dried plant, but Commander Keith Havard with the South Mississippi Metro Enforcement Team says spice is actually a dangerous, harmful drug.
"It's nothing like marijuana and people need to be educated on it," Havard said.
Havard says the laws against spice mirrors those of marijuana, but the side effects reveal the differences.
"It's not like THC in marijuana where you have one chemical that makes it illegal. With spice, they can change the process a little bit, change the chemical, and it changes the whole makeup of the drug," Havard said. "Same effects, just a different chemical that makes it legal."
Dr. Ryan Logan is a physician at Singing River Hospital who has seen first hand the bizarre effects of spice.
"Acute hysteria. They'll come into the emergency room department inconsolable," Dr. Logan said of spice users. "This is particularly more dangerous because you just don't know what you're going to get. You may buy something and expect it to affect you in one way, and you get what in turns causes a more violent and scary effect."
Dr. Logan says each patient is different, but treating them is often the same ugly sight.
"They are expecting to get a sensation similar to marijuana, but what they get is a more powerful, unpredictable response," Logan said.
Havard said it's brightly colored, cartoon packaging that they often seen the drug being sold in, and it may be appealing to teenagers. He says everyone needs to be properly educated about this drug.
"Educate themselves on it. Look for the packaging in the rooms, know what your kids have in their rooms. Educate them and make them realize these are harsh chemicals they're putting in their body," Havard said.