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Shadle kids sickened by ‘Spice’ as DEA moves to ban it

Four Shadle Park High School students were hospitalized Wednesday after smoking Spice – a substance that gives a marijuana-like high – the same day the Drug Enforcement Agency announced it will place an emergency ban on the five chemicals used to make it.

Paramedics responded to a possible overdose at the high school around 9 a.m. when the five male students, ages 16 to 18, became ill, a Spokane Fire Department news release said. The students, all 11th-graders, went the school’s office complaining of “decreased levels of consciousness and other serious symptoms,” after smoking the substance, the news release said.

Paramedics determined one student’s condition was serious and he was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, along with two others. One student was taken to Providence Holy Family Hospital and one refused transportation to a hospital. All of the students were in good condition by Wednesday afternoon, the release said.

The students have been disciplined, said Terren Roloff, Spokane Public Schools spokeswoman, but she could not comment on the specific disciplinary action taken.

The DEA says these products consist of “plant material” coated with chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The DEA’s emergency ban on the five ingredients used to make “fake pot” products won’t take effect for 30 days, said a DEA news release Wednesday. The ban will last for one year while the agency evaluates whether Spice and other chemically-coated herbal blends should be permanently added to the list of drugs that are considered unsafe, have no medical use and are often abused.

More than 15 states have already banned synthetic marijuana products, including Idaho.

Hospitals, poison centers and police have reported an increasing number of cases involving the cannabis-like concoction, prompting the DEA ban, the news release said.

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