Laced Vapes Land 5 Kids in the Hospital in London

By: Alec Donaldson | Published: Feb 25, 2024

Five teenage schoolchildren landed in the hospital in south London after using vapes that contained the drug Spice. This latest incident comes as the United Kingdom — as well as many countries around the world — are trying to curb child use of vapes.

This newest incident occurred in Eltham, southeast London. Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, such as Merton and Wales, officials have revealed separate cases of minors using Spice in vapes and becoming sick.

One Teen Put in Coma Using Vape

According to reporting by The Mirror, five teens were put in the hospital after using Spice in a rechargeable vape pen. This vape pen contained a blue liquid labeled “Vaporesso.” 

A close-up of a hospital bed, covered in a purple blanket, in a sterile environment.

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One of the teens was put into an induced coma by doctors after arriving at the hospital. All five teenagers were aged between 14 to 16. Their symptoms included vomiting, confusion, and a reduced level of consciousness. 

Teens Recovering from Laced Vape

A recent update of this case reveals that all five teens are thought to have recovered from using a Spice laced vape. However, the specifics of their conditions — and why one was put into an induced coma — have not been revealed.

Close-up view of a young teenager’s shoes and legs as they hold a black backpack, standing in front of a concrete wall.

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Spice users can have various symptoms, including vomiting and confusion. However, some users can experience temporary paralysis. Some cases of Spice use have even been linked to psychosis, paranoia, and other mental health conditions.

Uptick in “Zombie Drug” Spice Use

This newest incident in south London is just the latest in an uptick in teenage use of Spice. Spice, coined a “zombie drug,” can leave users in a “zombie-like” state. According to this recent report, the teenagers who landed in the hospital indeed had a low level of consciousness.

A young woman blows out smoke from a vape while outdoors.

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Often, the effects of Spice are said to be similar to cannabis — but much stronger. Because users can be left in a catatonic state, many officials in the UK are sounding the alarm as they see more teenagers use it.

United Kingdom Vape Cases

Just last month, The Mirror also reported that two minors became sick after using a Spice-laced vape. This vape was labeled Lemonade Vape Cookies. The incident occurred in Merton.

Five young adults stand in front of a fenced gate and train talking to each other.

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According to Welsh public health officials, many teens are consuming Spice-laced content in their vapes, as they’re unaware of what they’re putting in their bodies. Often, they simply think they’re using cannabis oils or other liquids.

Increase In Spice-Laced Vapes

According to The Welsh Emerging Drugs and Identification of Novel Substances’ (WEDINOS) newest study, a third of 196 liquid samples found in vapes contained the same class of chemicals that Spice is found in.

Close-up view of a young man surrounded by smoke as he uses a vape with his hood drawn over his head.

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As many teenagers do not know that they’re using Spice in their vape, officials believe they are unknowingly putting themselves in danger. “We are concerned that people may not be getting what they think they are getting, when they buy drugs online,” Professor Rick Lines explained.


Schools In The UK Fight Back

Schools around the United Kingdom are trying to fight against the use of unregulated vapes after various schoolchildren have been found unwell after vape use. In Teesside, many reports of Spice-laced vapes and subsequent illnesses went around last year.

Close-up of a young female student who is heading to class, holding books and binders, with her backpack on, listening to music through earphones.

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In Middlesbrough, reportedly dozens of vapes were confiscated by school officials. Many of these vapes were then sent off for testing to see if they were laced with Spice.


UK Government Bans Disposable Vapes

As incidents of laced vape use involving minors have increased, the United Kingdom has already announced plans to ban the sale of disposable vapes. However, this new legislation does not impact rechargeable vapes.

A man in a black sleeve long shirt chooses from a selection of e-liquid vape products on a store’s shelves.

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This entire legislation reveals the government’s intention to try to keep teenagers and children from buying tobacco products. The UK government is also looking to stop vapes from being marketed to children.


United States Schools Also Battle Vape Use

The UK school system isn’t the only one cracking down on vape use in schools. Many schools throughout the United States are trying to fight back against student use of vapes and e-cigarettes, especially amid worries over Spice-laced vapes.

A classroom full of students as they look at their teacher while he teaches.

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According to the FDA, one in four students use e-cigarettes every day in the United States. Many experts believe minors likely don’t realize how bad vaping and e-cigs are for them.


US Schools Use Surveillance To Stop Vaping

NewsNation revealed that many schools around the country have invested in pricy surveillance technology to try to stop kids from vaping while in class. 

Back view of three students in class, amid other students, as they look at their teacher in the front of the room.

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Often, teachers and school officials don’t realize their students are vaping. So, it has become difficult for them to curb the practice. With these surveillance systems in place, officials are hoping to better handle the sometimes widespread use of vaping in school. 


Long-term Vape Use Can Cause Serious Issues

Minors using vapes or e-cigs daily can often cause extreme health issues down the road, even if they’re only using tobacco products in their vape.

A young man smokes from an e-cigarette and blows out smoke

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NewsNation reported that a 22-year-old man had to receive a double lung transplant after vaping extensively in his childhood. According to this man, he wasn’t aware that vaping was bad. Often, children and teenagers think vaping is better than smoking regular cigarettes, which isn’t the case.


Laced Vapes Increase Overdose Risks

While long-term vape or e-cigarette use can cause ample health issues down the road, the use of laced vapes can cause immediate issues — and even overdoses. Professor Lines explained that fatal overdoses are on the rise, as a result of laced vapes. 

Three paramedics help a patient into an ambulance in the night, with blue and red lights flashing around the figures and lighting them up in the darkness.

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“The risk of fatal overdoses is high from some of the samples we receive, especially when substances are used by those who don’t realise the risks they pose or when they are using them in combination with other substances,” he said.