A type of synthetic marijuana known as “Smacked” is causing major problems in New Hampshire, and the governor there has just declared a state of emergency because of it. Synthetic marijuana is a growing problem that has already resulted in the deaths of numerous people. Besides those who have died, many injuries and emergency room visits due to the drug have been reported.
One challenge that authorities face in stopping the deadly threat of this drug is that it is generally legal. Dealers get around the law by spraying chemicals on common spices or on potpourri. These chemicals have been altered so that while they resemble the compound found in real marijuana, they are different enough to slide by laws banning the authentic substance. They also get away with skirting the law by how they label the drug. It is often labeled as “potpourri” or “incense” along with the warning “not for human consumption.” Synthetic marijuana is also known by the name “Spice.”
While the drug is currently legal, police in New Hampshire are starting to crack down on stores selling it after several weeks of victims suffering overdoses. None of the patients in New Hampshire have died, but some have suffered side effects that have sent them to the hospital. Deaths from Spice have been reported throughout the country, and people can die after smoking the drug just one time. In a tragic case that has gone viral on Facebook, a Southern California teen named Connor Reid Eckhardt died after slipping into a coma shortly after smoking Spice. His family distributed a number of photos showing the teen smiling at the beach just ten days prior to his death as well as a picture of him hooked up to life support and then, finally, a photo of his burial.
Eckhardt’s family says they released the photos in an effort to warn others about the deadly substance. Now, synthetic marijuana has caused a state of emergency to be declared in New Hampshire. Governor Maggie Hassan said that it is the state’s mission to stop more youth from being harmed and that the substance poses a “serious threat to public health.” She vowed to crack down on the stores engaged in selling the dangerous drug. While the drug is technically legal, authorities can go after the store owners selling it and hold them responsible for any injuries that occur.
There have been around 34 overdoses in New Hampshire since Monday evening. Tuesday evening, nine people were hospitalized after smoking the drug at a local park. Police say there seems to be a “bad batch” going around. Police seized a batch at one store and staged a raid over 50 other locations.
Side effects of the drug include severe anxiety and panic attacks; shaking, sweating, convulsions, confusion, weakness, coma and death. These effects can be intensified and the risk of death higher if the manufacturer uses what authorities describe as a “heavy hand” when they spray the chemicals onto the potpourri.
Synthetic marijuana has caused a state of emergency in New Hampshire, and authorities hope they can prevent potential fatalities. Of course, it is too late for the many people who have already lost their lives due to this deadly substance.
By: Rebecca Savastio