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'Smacked' emergency: New Hampshire's medical emergency over pot-like 'smacked'

It’s called "Smacked," and it's causing a medical emergency in New Hampshire. A synthetic, marijuana-like product has prompted New Hampshire to declare a state of emergency after dozens of reported overdoses have surfaced this past week. The substance, which is sold as a potpourri bag of dried leaves and other organics, is sprayed with chemically engineered substances that have similar mind-altering effects as THC, the principal psychoactive ingredient found in pot.

Writes Fox News on Aug. 15: “The state of emergency authorizes public health officials to investigate stores and quarantine the product, and [New Hampshire Governor Maggie] Hassan directed the officials to work with local police departments to do so.”

Thus far, 44 overdoses have been reported, none of which have proven fatal. Hassan spoke about the disturbing new trend of smoking smacked. The substance mimics marijuana, but contains no cannabis. The bags are generally labeled with phrases such as “herbal incense product” and some even warn that they are not for consumption, but consumers are buying up the product with full intent on smoking the flavored bags.

“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,” Governor Hassan said. “I have declared a State of Emergency so that we can move quickly to stop the sale of this dangerous substance that has caused an outbreak of serious overdoses.”

The overdoses are centralized in Manchester and Concord, with at least 20 of the 44 reported overdoses requiring hospital stays. Most of the smacked sicknesses came from "bubblegum" flavored product.

“It's very important that individuals be made aware that use of this product poses serious and immediate danger to their personal health,” cautioned NH Health and Human Services Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “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.”

Writes AlterNet.org: “The decision to make the emergency declaration may have been influenced by the Southern California teen who died last week after reportedly taking just one hit of the synthetic pot product K2.”

In 2012, the federal government banned certain compounds found in chemically engineered marijuana imitations – known as “spice” – as well as the same substances given off in bath salts that are said to produce “zombie-like” effects on users. New Hampshire and 40 other states have also adopted similar bans, though chemical compositions can be altered easily to avoid detection.

Three convenience stores selling smacked in New Hampshire had their retail licenses yanked while investigators look into the sale of the product.