City Council Calls For Ban On Synthetic Drugs After Skid Row Overdoses

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council adopted an emergency motion Friday asking city prosecutors to prepare an ordinance that would ban synthetic marijuana and other drugs recently blamed for an outbreak in which more than 50 people on Skid Row were sickened.

Councilmembers Mitch Englander and Jose Huizar called for a complete citywide ban on the sale, distribution, manufacture and possession of “novel synthetic drugs and novel psychoactive drugs” in Los Angeles, potentially modeling it after one adopted in San Diego last month.

Officials believe the synthetic drug Spice to be linked to incidents on Monday, when more than 20 people became ill on Skid Row, and last Friday, when nearly 50 people were sickened.

Those incidents come months after an incident in April, when about 10 people were sickened within a 24-hour span in the area of San Pedro and Fifth streets.

Englander described the scene on Monday as chaotic and filled with fear as some users were seen foaming at the mouth, delusional and violent, and said the drug is “wreaking havoc in our communities,” especially among “those most vulnerable in society.”

The motion also calls on Gov. Jerry Brown to support restrictions that would close some loopholes in existing laws prohibiting synthetic drugs.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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