Thirteen people were hospitalized in San Diego on Sunday after overdosing on “spice,” a variant of synthetic marijuana.
San Diego police have begun an investigation into the origins of the spice, which was reportedly being sold in black packages with blue dragons emblazoned on them, according to the City News Service.
Thirteen people–ranging in age from 13 to 45–were taken to local hospitals for treatment after ingesting the drug, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Capt. Joseph Amador told the outlet. At least two of those sickened were taken to the hospital in critical condition.
The victims reportedly experienced symptoms including bloody noses, seizures and vomiting. Amador told the Los Angeles Times that some of those sickened by the drug had exhibited “extremely odd behavior.”
“It’s a manufactured substance and depending on who manufactured it, it could be of different qualities, different strengths,” SDPD Battalion Chief Mike Finnerty told NBC 7 San Diego. “It could be that the current batch that these people are accessing is much stronger than what they are used to or it could have some other unknown chemical in it that’s not normally in it.”
Variants of synthetic marijuana have caused overdoses, and in some cases, death, across the country. In July, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed strengthening regulations on spice after thousands of New Yorkers fell ill from consuming the drug in the early part of this year. According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the use of synthetic marijuana–and subsequently, overdoses and deaths related to the drug–has skyrocketed in the past year.
The sale of synthetic marijuana products like spice has been illegal in California since 2012.