Synthetic drugs still on the market

Synthetic marijuana is illegal in Alabama. Law-enforcement continue to crackdown on people who sell it. as for those who use it, the consequences can be deadly. A Jacksonville teen can vouch for that.

He tried Spice and nearly died. Now, he is sharing his experience with others.

21-year-old Nick Reeves remembers the night he first tried Spice.

"My buddy took the hit. And he walked into the living room. Then I took the hit. By the time I get to the living room, he's on the ground seizing," says Reeves.Reeves goes on to say, "Then, it was straight fear from there. Because after he just took the same hit that (I am) taking, and I'd already took it, so I knew I was next. there was nothing I could do."Moments later, Reeves blacked out. His father, Chris remembers the call he got that night. "To get that phone call was shocking, it was a wake up call for us," says the elder Reeves.Nick recalls, "I woke up in the hospital, and my parents were walking through the door. It was just a feeling that I can't explain."Reeves had been against using illegal drugs all this life. But this was different. Spice, was legal."I just did the worst thing in my life," says Reeves. "I found out later that I was convulsing and I had started bleeding from my mouth and my nose and just about everywhere."Reeves survived his first and only experience with the synthetic drug. But his experience changed his life forever. "It finally sunk home. Then I found out about the other kids who had died, and I met the families," Reeves recalls. "And I've basically had to say, I'm sorry that I survived and your son didn't." Synthetic drugs are now illegal. Governor Robert Bentley signed a law banning them in October of 2011.

It was a short lived victory for law enforcement. Now, Captain David Peacock, an investigator for the A.B.C. Board says they're fighting a battle in an ever changing landscape. "The legislature took the known chemicals they were using to make this stuff, and they banned them made them illegal," says Peacock. "Now, the manufacturers would go back and change the chemical substance slightly, so you end up with a product that has the same or a very similar effect. But technically it's not illegal because chemically the makeup is changed subtly." In Jefferson County, Lieutenant J. M. Davis says undercover operations have led the purchaseof several packaged items that appear to be Spice. Right now, they're waiting for test results from the Department of Forensic Sciences to determine whether they contain any of the banned substances. "Once the test comes back showing there is something illegal contained in the substance then we will go to the District Attorneys office and seek prosecution," says Peacock.As for Nick Reeves, he continues to speak to teens in the Anniston, Oxford area about his experience. He says he is still close with the families who lost their sons to the drug.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says there are several ongoing investigations taking place regarding the selling of suspected "Spice".