Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is proposing new criminal penalties for using and dealing the synthetic drug spice, which authorities say has become a burden on emergency services in the city.
The current penalty for possession of the drug is a citation for $500. Anchorage police have issued 30 such citations since August, according to the mayor’s office.
“The new ordinance and accompanying resolution will increase penalties for spice distribution to up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine,” according to Monday announcement from the mayor.
According to EMS Battalion Chief Mike Crotty, about a half dozen spice-related incidents occurred in just a matter of minutes around 4 p.m. Monday. At times during the day, all of the Anchorage Fire Department’s resources citywide were being used to answer spice calls coming from Downtown, Crotty said.
The mayor’s proposal would include a penalty for spice usage which would include up to six months of jail time and a $2,000 fine.
The proposal is scheduled for the Assembly agenda on Oct. 27.
The Anchorage Fire Department has transported 468 patients who were suspected of consuming spice between July 18 and Oct. 4, according to the press release. “This number represents 11 percent of AFD’s total transports and an average of nearly six individuals every 24 hours,” officials wrote.