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Officials issue warning about deadly marijuana alternative

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MANCHESTER, NH – It’s called “spice,” an over-the-counter product marketed as poppourri but being used instead of marijuana.

Police say it’s causing a rash of overdoses.

Resembling marijuana and with flavors such as bubblegum, blueberry and lemon-lime, spice is responsible for more than 30 overdoses in the past 48 hours.

“You drive by any of the parks now in the last couple of days, and you see people who are absolutely lethargic, passed out. It’s very hard to get a response,” Sgt. Brian O’Keefe with Manchester Police Department said.

In fact, even as police held a news conference Tuesday to warn of the dangers of the product, several people were being treated for overdosing on Spice.

Spice is seen as a cheaper alternative to marijuana but police say this is far more dangerous.

“It’s a green, leafy substance that is sprayed with unknown chemicals and products,” Sgt. O’Keefe said.

The application of those chemicals is anything but consistent.

“Sometimes, if they’re more heavy-handed in one area than another, they package this up, and that heavy-handed spray area becomes toxic to those that are inhaling it,” Sgt. O’Keefe said.

Police say spice is manufactured outside the U.S., eventually finding its way to store shelves.

“Some of the clerks and owners are saying that traveling salesman are showing up with this product, which is not good business practice. We’ll be checking into that,”Sgt. O’Keefe said.

Patrol officers fanned out across the city last night, hitting fifty stores, but didn’t find any Spice.

“We believe this product is sold out, and we’re hopeful that is the case, because we don’t want to continue to deal with the overdoses that we have for the past 48 hours.”