Monday, October 20, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;54.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/skc.png;2014-10-20 13:53:41
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Despite Manchester overdoses of synthetic marijuana, all clear in Nashua, police say

NASHUA – While it’s not precisely clear why, Nashua has so far avoided the rash of spice overdoses that have plagued Manchester this month, and police say there’s no sign of the particularly dangerous brand called “Smacked!” at convenience stores in the city.

Nashua police detective Lt. David Bailey said police have received no reports of the synthetic marijuana – often sold as incense and also referred to as K2 or bath salts – in Nashua. Bailey said a handful of independent convenience stores agreed to stop selling the product at narcotics detectives’ request two years ago. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

NASHUA – While it’s not precisely clear why, Nashua has so far avoided the rash of spice overdoses that have plagued Manchester this month, and police say there’s no sign of the particularly dangerous brand called “Smacked!” at convenience stores in the city.

Nashua police detective Lt. David Bailey said police have received no reports of the synthetic marijuana – often sold as incense and also referred to as K2 or bath salts – in Nashua. Bailey said a handful of independent convenience stores agreed to stop selling the product at narcotics detectives’ request two years ago.

“I haven’t heard anything. We have not seen anything and AMR down here is saying they haven’t,” Bailey said, referring to the 911 ambulance service in Nashua and Manchester.

The sheer number of severe reactions to Smacked! brand spice in Manchester and Concord prompted Gov. Maggie Hassan to declare a state of emergency last week, giving Department of Health and Human Services employees more leeway to quarantine, seizie and destroy the substance. The declaration came after nearly 50 overdoses in Manchester and Concord last week, including around 40 in Manchester alone.

Nashua police issued their own statement following the emergency declaration urging stores to remove the items from
their shelves and asking anyone who spots the Smacked! brand to report it to police.

Bailey said it’s little more than luck that stores in Manchester were selling the substance instead of those in Nashua.

“I can only imagine whoever is moving this stuff had some contacts with stores in Manchester,” he said.

While the governor’s declaration pertains specifically to Smacked!, Bailey encouraged stores to not sell other brands as well in case they too contain illegal and potentially dangerous substances.

“If you’re carrying anything else, this stuff, you don’t know what’s in it and it can be dangerous to people who take it,” he said.

Manchester police and health officials responded to 41 people having serious medical episodes after using the drug, including 20 who had to be transported to a hospital last week.

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas convened a meeting of police and city officials Wednesday to discuss the overdoses, none of which have been fatal.

Also on Wednesday, health officials in Manchester shut down three stores found to be selling the product.

Spice – synthetic cannaboids – are engineered substances similar to the active ingredient in marijuana.

They are often labeled as incense or bath salts
and sold in convenience stores, but are known by drug users to create a high when smoked or brewed into tea.

Spice has been a difficult substance to legislate because tiny changes to the chemical makeup can render laws moot. In 2012, the U.S. Congress added 26 new substances to the Controlled Drug Substance Act hoping to make the substance harder to manufacture.

The same year Nashua police made a concerted effort to rid city convenience stores of the drugs and said at the time that the owners of all of the city’s 55 independently-owned convenience stores agreed to stop selling it.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached
at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Cote
on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).