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'Spice' Addicts Take Over Park

Tampa Bay Times

In a tour de force of multimedia reporting, John Woodrow Cox of the Tampa Bay Times describes the scene, hour by hour, at Williams Park in downtown St. Petersburg.

A square of just over 4 acres with a bandshell, fountain, and lush greenery, Williams Park is just west of the high-rise office buildings and surrounded by bus stops.  It has become a dead end for hustlers, drifters, drunks and men who live only to roll another joint of synthetic marijuana.

They get arrested, frequently, but don't stay in jail for long. Soon they're back on the walls and benches and sidewalks of Williams Park.

There are shelters for homeless people, but only those who are sober. That's too high a price to pay for the denizens of Williams Park.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.