The health authority Sundhedsstyrelsen is concerned that a new designer drug, 'spice', is gaining a foothold in Denmark as it is a legal high that can potentially kill users.
Over the last couple of years, the Danish poison hotline Giftlinjen i Danmark has received about 60 calls regarding people who have been poisoned by spice, a kind of synthetic cannabis, after buying it through mail order.
”The drugs we hear about at Giftlinjen have typically arrived from Sweden,” Kim Dalhoff, a doctor and professor at Giftlinjen, told Metroxpress newspaper.
”First they spread in the US, then Sweden and then Denmark, so there is great risk that spice will become widespread – if it isn't already.”
Across the Øresund in Sweden, the authorities have been battling the drug for a few months now and those efforts will have not abated after a 22-year-old man died on Wednesday after an overdose of the drug.
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But it's a difficult drug to fight, because the producers change the drug's composition every time the health authorities ban a version of it.
"We are always a little behind the producers here, because as soon as we can ban the new drugs, the producers change the chemical composition,” Kari Grasaasen, a consultant with Sundhedsstyrelsen, told Metroxpress.
The police in Denmark said that they are aware of spice, but had not yet seized any of the drug – which is synthetic cannabis that has added herbs, incense or other leafy materials sprayed with lab-synthesised liquid chemicals. Spice, which is smoked like cannabis,, first arrived in the US in 2008.
Symptoms of a spice overdose or poisoning is a high pulse, vomiting, high blood pressure, heart pain and, in a worst case scenario, cardiac arrest.