All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

John H Copes

Advisory Committee Members

Hayden Griffin

Amanda Burgess-Proctor

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ) College of Arts and Sciences


Since the early 2000s, Novel Psychoactive Drugs (NPDs) have been gaining popularity in the illicit drug world. One of the most popular NPDs is synthetic marijuana, commonly referred to as spice. Initially unregulated, spice became popular among and accessible to a diverse array of people throughout the United States. Deleterious health effects, including death, have been attributed to spice use. Recognizing a lack of criminological research available on spice use, this study seeks to understand why individuals use spice—why they began to use spice specifically, why they persisted, and why they quit if applicable. Based on 34 in-depth interviews and approximately 200 hours of participant observation of those who use spice, I form a typology to understand how spice fits into drug using criminal careers.