Synthetic Drugs: A Growing Problem in South Florida

The use of Synthetic Drugs is quickly becoming a massive problem for law enforcement as well as Health and Social Services departments across the country; and in a big way in South Florida. Specifically, synthetic marijuana known as Spice among many other labeling nicknames has contributed to a string of bizarre cases and more so, a spike in drug induced hospitalizations. Based on current statistics, Broward County has been the hardest hit municipality facing the effects of this legal dilemma.

Last month, an Alaska woman suspected of being high on Spice was arrested after she began destroying the interior of a local Subway restaurant. She tore off her clothes until she was completely naked and couldn’t hold a rational conversation with the responding officer, according to the formal complaint. She broke computers and furniture as well as ripping ceiling tiles out before locking herself in the bathroom. Damage to the restaurant was estimated at more than twenty thousand dollars. She was taken to a local hospital for treatment but Police Sgt. Shaun Henry said she would most likely face felony charges once she recovers.


In April, in Evansville, Illinois, a 57-year old man was arrested after stabbing his friend in the stomach while the two were smoking Spice. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. His friend is expected to survive the attack.

In Texas, in what has been described as a “series of violent and bizarre incidents linked to spice”, a Waco man who was smoking Spice attacked friends that were present at his home and then ran into his yard and began crawling around on his hands and knees, barking and growling at a neighbor like a wild animal. The neighbor ran back in his house. The seemingly enraged man then grabbed his roommate’s dog and beat and strangled the dog to its death. He then began chewing pieces of flesh from the animal. He was found by police with blood and fur covering his face. He was later found guilty of animal cruelty in a plea agreement.

Similar stories emerged in Florida including one case where a Miami man, stripped off his clothes and violently attacked another man on the MacArthur Causeway. He then used his teeth to gnaw on the victim’s face removing nearly 75% of his skin. A witness to the attack said that all that was left of the victim’s face was blood and the target’s goatee. Pleas for him to stop that were made by police were returned with growls from the suspect finally forcing them to shoot and kill him. The officer that shot the suspect said it took four bullets to finally stop the carnage. The insane behavior was first attributed to Spice or possibly Bath Salts or Flakka, another group of synthetic drugs, but the toxicology report found only marijuana in his system. But it was the similarity of previous attacks that led authorities to believe that the incident was related to a synthetic substance.

Due to these incidents and many more like them new laws have been passed by the federal government as well as state legislatures and local municipalities. Law enforcement has been cracking down on the growing problem now that the issue poses a clear and present danger. To read more about the topic of the growing problem of synthetic drugs visit my Website.

Michael Cohen is a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Drugs Attorney with over 35 years of courtroom experience working for the federal government, the State of Florida, and now practicing as a criminal defense attorney to the public for the past 15 years.