New Hampshire is experiencing a sudden spike of overdose incidence linked with smoking or ingesting a synthetic marijuana known as "smacked".
In Manchester, 44 people went to the hospital in just 24 hours after experiencing the adverse effects of using the synthetic drug. At least 20 of these were brought to local hospitals by ambulance. The Concord Police Department has likewise reported of at least three cases of overdose incidents linked with the drug in just 24 hours.
The sudden increase in the incidence of synthetic marijuana overdose in New Hampshire has prompted Gov. Maggie Hassan to declare a state of emergency on Thursday which authorizes public health officials to investigate stores as the marijuana-like product is sold as potpourri in convenience stores and to quarantine drugs that that they find.
Hassan also instructed the officials to coordinate with the local police. The governor said that the drugs, which are sold in packets that contain a mix of spices that were sprayed with a synthetic drug similar to tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient found in marijuana, pose serious health threats to the public particularly to the young people. Placing all of the ten counties in New Hampshire under a state of emergency is a bid to combat the recent spike of overdoses.
"In consultation with the New Hampshire Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, public health officials in the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General's office, I have declared a State of Emergency so that we can move quickly to stop the sale of this dangerous substance that has caused an outbreak of serious overdoses," Gov. Hassan said.
None of the overdose incidents had been fatal so far and Manchester police reported on Wednesday that they have found the drug in three convenience stores whose business licenses were now revoked. Health officials are concerned about a particular flavor of the drug as several of those who were hospitalized reported taking the bubblegum flavor of smacked.
Manchester police chief David Mara believes that a bad batch of the drug was able to make its way into the market and became available in convenience stores. He said that people do not know what they get with the synthetic marijuana as it is not checked by the FDA. New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster has already urged store owners to pull out the products as they could be held liable to the harm that may be caused by this synthetic marijuana.