Synthetic Marijuana (K2, Bath Salts, Spice, Smacked, Scooby Snacks)
August 2014 - NH Declares Emergency Over Synthetic Drug 'Smacked'
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Gov. Maggie Hassan declared a state of emergency on Thursday (August 14, 2014) in response to 44 reported overdoses linked to people smoking or ingesting "Smacked," a synthetic marijuana-like product sold in convenience stores as potpourri. The state of emergency authorizes public health officials to investigate stores and quarantine the product. Nearly all the overdoses, none fatal, have been reported in the Manchester area since Aug. 11. Police say they’ve found Smacked in three convenience stores and that those stores' business licenses were revoked. Health officials are particularly concerned about the bubblegum flavor of Smacked, which several people who were brought to area hospitals reported taking.
The packets contain a potpourri-like substance sprayed with chemically engineered substances similar to tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, officials said. A federal ban on compounds found in synthetic marijuana products and bath salts was enacted in 2012 (See info below under K2), and New Hampshire and more than 40 other states adopted similar bans. But such laws have proven difficult to enforce, as drug makers can make slight modifications to the products' chemical compositions.
These synthetic drugs can be extremely dangerous and addictive. Health effects from the drug can be life-threatening and can include:
- Severe agitation and anxiety
- Fast, racing heartbeat and higher blood pressure
- Nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain
- Muscle spasms, seizures, and tremors
- Intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes
- Suicidal and other harmful thoughts and/or actions
In the News - NH State of Emergency
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used its emergency powers to ban K2 and other "fake pot" products that mimic the effects of marijuana. The action by the DEA makes it illegal to possess or sell the five chemicals used to make the products for at least one year. The agency and the Department of Health and Human Services will determine whether the chemicals should be permanently added to the federal list of controlled substances considered unsafe, highly abused and without medical use.
Smokable herbal blends marketed as "legal highs" have become increasingly popular and as easy to buy as cigarettes. “K2”, “Genie” or “Mr. Smiley”, as they are more commonly known, are blends of exotic herbs and other plants that have been sprayed or coated with one or more chemicals that, when smoked, produce euphoria. Users report that smoking small amounts results in intense highs comparable to smoking large amounts of marijuana.
These products don't contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. Instead, they contain synthetic chemicals that mimic THC by acting on the same receptors in the brain. They are most often labeled as herbal incense to mask their intended purpose, marketed to teens in bright colored packages. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that sale for human consumption is not approved. These products can cause increased heart rate, blood pressure, loss of consciousness, agitation, nausea, paranoia, hallucinations and psychotic episodes. Studies in 2008 revealed that users developed chemical dependencies, withdrawal and addictive behaviors when using this substance.