MANCHESTER, N.H., Aug. 15 (UPI) -- In just 24 hours, 44 people in Manchester, N.H., went to the hospital after smoking a synthetic marijuana product called Smacked. On Thursday, Gov. Maggie Hassan called a state emergency, giving local health officials the authority to quickly quarantine any of the remaining drug.
"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," the governor said in a statement.
"People are lethargic, have elevated heart rates, and seizures," Manchester's police chief David Mara told CBS. "You don't know what you're getting, there's no FDA check, and it's sold under the pretense of being potpourri," Mara said in reference to the product called Smacked.
Synthetic marijuana products go by a variety of names, though they're often collectively called "spice." The products are typically a potpourri-like array of dried herbs and leaves sprayed with a chemical mixture designed to mimic the effects of THC, marijuana's main psychoactive ingredient.
"It's very important that individuals be made aware that use of this product poses serious and immediate danger to their personal health," Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas said in the statement issued by the governor's office. "We strongly recommend the public avoid any use of this product, and we will work with local police departments as quickly as possible to put the quarantine into effect."
Earlier this summer, a teen in California went into a coma and died after smoking synthetic pot.