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'I almost died': Patient who smoked 'spice' did not know it was laced with rat poison

As the epidemic grows in Hillsborough County, 41 are hospitalized, two are dead.

TAMPA, Fla — Concern is starting to grow across the Tampa Bay area after another person died from smoking synthetic marijuana laced with rat poison. 

The patient being treated at AdventHealth Carrollwood died Tuesday morning after a brain bleed.

"A least one patient had a spontaneous bleed in his brain and we were not able to help him or save him," Dr. Jeremy Kirtz, the Emergency Room Director said. 

He and his team are trying to keep patients alive, but the drug is poisoning patients and making their blood thin.

"One of the problems with something like this is if you get a bad bleed, your blood is so thin that we can't do anything. We can't operate because you won't be able to stop the bleeding that we cause when we do," Kirtz said. 

More than 30 people are being treated at AdventHealth after smoking spice. A patient who did not want to be identified spoke to 10 Tampa Bay's Angelina Salcedo from her hospital bed.

"The doctor told me, you are here for a reason because you're on the verge of dying," she said after being in the hospital for 8 days.

That's when poison took over her body and caused her to bleed from her mouth uncontrollably. 

"It was a nightmare. I can literally tell you that I almost died. Relief and gratitude to God is the biggest thing I feel now," she said. 

The 50-year-old says she smoked spice twice. She resulted to synthetic marijuana when she realized she didn't have enough money to get medical marijuana from a dispensary this month.

"I got it in Ybor City in the street. I don't know who the person is though because they're just in groups of people in the corner. I went and I asked for what I was looking for. They handed me a silver bag, I handed them the money and that was it. I had no idea that it was laced with anything," she said.

Blood and plasma transfusions are helping make patients' blood thick again, but this dangerous epidemic just starting to rise.

"They're selling it in a malicious way because they know that they're making people sick and they're potentially killing people," she said.

With spice still out on the street, the question of who will come in next lingers.

"Stay away from it, don't even start. Don't even smoke it don't try it," she said.


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