LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — For the second time in four days, paramedics were sent to Skid Row to treat people suffering from some type of illness, possibly caused by an illicit substance or intoxicant.
Emergency crews were sent to the 400 block of East Fifth Street at about 10:30 a.m. Monday. Eighteen patients were evaluated, and paramedics took 14 to area hospitals, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
Authorities have not yet determined the cause of the illness for the latest incident.
On Friday, nearly 50 people were sickened by what police believe was a bad batch of possibly Spice, “which is a synthetic type of cannabis or marijuana,” said Dr. Mark Eckstein of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “And of course, every batch is different in terms of potency.”
On Skid Row, one can purchase two Spice cigarettes for $1.
Officers believed those experiencing symptoms of illness had consumed synthetic drugs from the same batch because of the large volume of calls within the same time frame, according to Sgt. Ed Kinney of the Los Angeles Police Department.
“You have to ask yourself. Is this just bad chemists? Or is this some attempt to cause disruption,” asked Capt. Don Graham of the LAPD.
The symptoms displayed by Friday’s patients were similar to the ones associated with PCP, which include excessive sweating and accelerated heart rate.
One man told CBS2/KCAL9’s Dave Lopez that “It smells like PCP. But I only took one hit. You know, everybody tries something sometime.”
In April, about 10 people, including a police bicycle officer, were sickened within a 24-hour span in the area of San Pedro and Fifth streets – not far from the latest two incidents – by an unknown substance or intoxicant.