Since the city of Dublin began considering extending its ban on synthetic marijuana a month ago, police officers have responded to several alarming reports from residents who have abused the substance.
The use of the product marketed as incense and its wild side effects have increased in number and frequency, according to Det. Chris Wernert.
Police Chief and Interim City Manager Lannie Lee said the abuse of the products alter cognitive abilities and makes consumers hallucinate and "fight demons that aren't there."
In one incident two weeks ago, a woman called 9-1-1 after midnight frantically telling dispatchers she was dying in her home after smoking synthetic marijuana while her family was asleep. Police said apart from temporary impaired mental abilities and perception, the woman was in good health.
In another more recent encounter, two men passed out in the middle of the street near the railroad after smoking incense while walking home shortly after buying the product, Wernert said. One of the men was taken to Texas Health Harris Methodist Stephenville and was released once the side effects subsided.
There have been other incidents, some involving minors who cannot legally purchase the incense, but police believe most incidents are never reported.
"The abuse of the product is more widespread than the few frightening reports we have taken," Wernert said. "Not everyone has the same reaction to synthetic marijuana, some are more extreme than others."
The Ordinance and Public Safety Committee has met twice in the last month and will propose an ordinance banning the sale of incense and synthetic marijuana products containing certain ingredients to the city council during a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.
"At least for now, this will help us control the sale and abuse of these products, but they're still available online," Lee said.