Updated: Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010, 7:22 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 11 Aug 2010, 6:35 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - "Spice" is a synthetic marijuana and a growing number of people in Indiana are getting sick after experimenting with it.
A Middletown woman died in July after smoking Spice and now a state lawmaker wants to ban it.
Eight states have already outlawed Spice and other forms of synthetic marijuana that carry names like Pep, Kind, K2 and Mr. Smiley.
State Rep. John Barnes (D-Indianapolis) began his effort to ban it here with a horror story from 21-year old Derek McQueen of Greenfield. Derek McQueen showed off the scars from a failed attempt to take his own life after he experimented with smoking Spice and, he says, felt paranoid. "Luckily I was there," says his mother, Annette Emge. "I was able to help stop the bleeding or at least slow it down till lifeline got there."
"And then I was (airlifted) to Clarian by helicopter," says McQueen, "and I was there for 3 or 4 days in the intensive care."
24 Hour News 8 first reported on the popularity of Spice last May. It's sold at tobacco and convenience stores as incense, though some stores offer rolling papers right next to it.
The Indiana Poison Center reports 76 cases of Spice toxicity this year. "I've had two friends say that they've had seizures from it," Stephanie Taylor of Franklin told us in May.
Dr. Brent Furbee of the Indiana Poison Center adds, "There have been a few people who have reported hallucinations with it."
So while state Representative John Barnes aims to ban Spice he also worries about bringing it to the attention of teenagers. "There's so much publicity right now that there are an awful lot of kids and adults who are thinking, ok, well if this stuff gets banned we won't have a chance to sell it or experiment with it.""
Barnes plans to file a bill in January. Derek McQueen will continue to issue warnings. "I just tried it for, you know, a one-time thing and too much for me so it could be too much for anybody," he says.
Representative Barnes wants to give law enforcement officers more power to go after the people who sell synthetic drugs along with his plan to ban Spice. He also wants retailers to make a voluntary effort to take the products off their shelves.