New Hampshire Declares 'State of Emergency' Over Synthetic Drugs

By McCarton Ackerman 08/18/14

A spate of recent overdoses from 'Smacked' has led the governor to take drastic action.

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After 44 recent overdoses in New Hampshire were linked to a marijuana-like synthetic product called “Smacked,” Gov. Maggie Hassan declared a “state of emergency” over the drug.

Sold in convenience stores as potpourri, the contents are sprayed with chemical substances similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Smacked also comes in a variety of flavors including bubblegum, which many of those who overdosed reported taking. Most of the emergency room visits related to the drug have taken place in the city of Manchester, but none have been fatal.

The state of emergency declared by Hassan means that public health officials are now authorized to investigate stores and remove the product if found. Police in Manchester said the drug was found in three convenience stores so far and those establishments have since had their businesses revoked. Hassan said in a statement that “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.”

New Hampshire made headlines for addiction problems back in 2012 when it was labeled as the biggest beer-drinking state in the country, with residents downing an average of 43 gallons per year. North Dakota came in second on the Beer Institute list at 42.2 gallons, followed by Montana (40.6 gallons) and South Dakota (38 gallons). Perhaps unsurprisingly, these states also rank among the states with the highest percentage of heavy and binge drinkers.

The state has also been dealing with a rising heroin problem as more prescription drug addicts are resorting to cheaper alternatives.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.