AURORA - Scientists at University of Colorado School of Medicine are studying what goes into spice and how to detect it.
"Spice itself is usually not a drug of abuse, it's more drug of experimentation," said Jeffrey Galinkin, Chief Medical Officer at CU Toxicology. "People think of spice as a natural drug because they think of it as a marijuana derivative. Spice is not."
Spice, is a chemically manufactured drug, often chosen by young people or others who like that it's typically very hard to detect.
A problem CU School of Medicine scientists say they've solved with a unique test that can find 120 different drugs with near 100 percent accuracy.
"The problem with spice is it gets metabolized very quickly," said Galinkin, "we can detect those metabolites at a much lower concentration at much earlier time points."
And they're working on a spice-specific test.
"There are about 160 known spices that are out there and each day a new one basically comes out," Galinkin said. "What people are trying to do is detect commonalities between the spices now and that's what we're starting to work on."
While scientists are trying to figure that, you need to be aware of what they already know about spice.
"Spice causes poisonings, it doesn't cause highs," said Galinkin.
University of Colorado School of Medicine says it developed the test that's already available to use in the emergency rooms and for public health officials.
Parents should talk to their children about the dangers of spice, including the misperception that spice - is like marijuana.
Last week, federal and local officials in 29 states arrested more than 150 people in what the Drug Enforcement Administration called the largest spice bust yet.
In just one month last year, more than 200 people were taken to Colorado emergency rooms with spice poisonings. A 15-year-old Aurora boy died from ingesting the drug.
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