According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, in April and May alone, Mississippi had more than 1,200 reported spice overdoses.
Dr. Alan Jones is with UMMC. He says a sudden increase in new hospital visits last week could be caused by variations in each batch of the drug.
"Some of the chemists will change the structure some, and there will be a new batch of it that comes out. The problem with that is you don't ever know what the potency or the effects of the new chemicals will be. A big uptick in the number of cases that we've seen, perhaps the chemical structure had been modified - making people sick," says Jones.
The medical community aren't the only ones concerned about spice. State law enforcement officials are working to determine how the drug is coming to the state.
Sam Owens is with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. He says the new chemicals could be linked to the batch from this past spring.
"Because we've got shipping records and such, we determined that the chemical last time came from China. That's how it got here. Somebody had it shipped and then mixed it up. They could've put something in this one that did all the same things for you as the first spice did, except now this one makes you sick to your stomach," Owens says.
Spice contains dried, shredded plant materials and a mix of chemical additives that produce psychoactive, or mind-altering, effects. Possible side effects include low blood pressure, unconsciousness, and vomiting.
Owens says a sample of the new spice has been collected for analysis. He says there are currently no leads in the investigation.