Smacked, otherwise known as "Spice," is a product that's usually sold as potpourri in most convenience stores. It is made up of a herbal mix of substance that has been sprayed with another substance that's chemically engineered and similar to tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana's main ingredient.
Spice, which is usually sold at gas stations, is originally intended to be used as incense. However, there are some people who also smoke it in order to feel "high."
The governor's declaration of a state of emergency prompted public health officials to investigate the suspected stores and remove the drug-infused product from their stock. The officials are also working hand in hand with the local police departments in dealing with the case.
In 2012, similar concerns have also been given to "bath salts" which had caused thousands of people in the U.S. to be hospitalized. Officials have compared the new drug's popularity to that of bath salts.
"These products pose a serious threat to public health, especially to young people, and it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to combat the recent rash of overdoses," said Gov. Hassan in a statement.
While none of the reported drug overdoses were fatal in nature, the cause of alarm that it had brought to the region is something that shouldn't be taken lightly. As a result, three convenience stores had their licenses revoked and their businesses shut down after it was found out that they're selling the product.
Smacked's bubblegum flavor have deeply made the health officials worried since people who were brought to the hospitals admitted that they have taken the product.
Joseph Foster, New Hampshire's attorney general, has encouraged store owners to voluntarily take down the products from their store shelves, adding that they "could be held responsible for harm caused to a user of the product."
Gov Hassan declared the state of emergency after consulting the matter with the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the attorney general's office, and public health officials.
When a state is declared to be in an emergency, authorities are given the permission to investigate, place into quarantine, and necessitate the destruction of suspected spice brands.
There is already an existing federal ban on the compounds that are used in synthetic marijuana products and even in bath salts. Approved in 2012, the law seemed to be difficult to enforce. Persistent drug makers discovered that they can actually make small modifications to the drug's chemical component in order to become unqualified for banning.