• Manchester police seeing rise in synthetic marijuana overdoses


    MANCHESTER, NH - Police in New Hampshire are seeing a resurgence in synthetic marijuana, also known as spice.

    “It's like heroin, to them it's like quick heroin, pay $2 g--damn for a thing of spice,” said Loretta Calderwood.

    Calderwood is homeless and spends most sunny days in Manchester’s Veterans Park. She says in her community, it's quietly become known as a place to smoke spice.

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    First responders told Boston 25 News the problem is so bad people are openly smoking spice in city parks.
    “This month so far, just in one park down the street, we've had 12 (overdoses) so far this month,” said Manchester Fire Chief Daniel Goonan.

    First responders said calls for spice overdoses in city parks have nearly doubled this summer.

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    Goonan said his crews worry about their own safety because of the violent, unpredictable nature of patients high on spice.

    “I think it's dangerous for the people who respond, dangerous for the people who are in the parks,” he said.

    Police say many users hide the synthetic marijuana in cigarettes.

    “So if you was an officer driving by, it appears someone just sitting there smoking a cigarette when in fact they could be ingesting spice right there in the park,” said Lt. Brian O'Keefe.

    That's why this week Manchester’s police chief has proposed banning all smoking in city parks as a proactive way to combat the surge of spice, which police say users believe is safer than heroin or fentanyl.

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    “They're going back to spice because it's a similar high from what I'm told and what's happening is there's no fatalities attached to the overdose,” said O’Keefe.

    The chief is currently writing that ordinance with other city officials. There is no word on when aldermen might vote on it.

    It’s been two years since spice was outlawed.

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