For the third time in two weeks, emergency personnel Thursday tended to a rash of apparent overdose cases in downtown San Diego involving the designer drug spice, officials said.
Trolley security personnel and passers-by reported seeing people behaving erratically or falling ill in four areas near the 12th and Imperial Transit Station over a roughly 35-minute period beginning shortly before 1:30 p.m., according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. One of those stricken was lying down, rolling around and hitting his head on the ground near Mission Brewery at 14th and L streets, SDFRD Capt. Joe Amador said.
Medics took all the patients -- five men and a woman -- to hospitals for what was believed to be adverse reactions to spice, a compound created to mimic the effects of marijuana. None of the ailments was believed to be life-threatening.
Two similar outbreaks of apparent spice overdoses occurred downtown late last month.
On Nov. 22, five adults and five minors as young as 13 were stricken after apparently ingesting the substance, and at least seven were taken to trauma centers, authorities said. They had symptoms varying from seizures to bloody noses, and some were found passed out in streets.
Six days later, about a dozen people, including juveniles, got sick in the same general area after ingesting spice.
Some of the recent overdoses apparently were due to a bad batch of the drug being sold in the area, contained in a black package with images of blue dragons on the side, according to police.
Selling synthetic cannabinoid compounds such as spice has been illegal in California since 2012.