Mark Hayward's City Matters: A short history of the spice trade
Minutes after TN Gas and Convenience reopened Monday in Manchester, Jerry Anderson, left, made a purchase from Omar Hassan. (MARK HAYWARD / UNION LEADER)
Random thoughts about the drug spice and the crackdown in Manchester. Manchester doesn’t have a spice problem, it has a drug problem.
Speak to people in Bronstein Park, and it becomes clear that spice is just one patch in the tapestry of this city’s drug culture.
“We were always getting in trouble for smoking weed,” said Shaw, who is on probation and must submit to drug tests. A stay-at-home mom, Shaw said she stopped smoking spice because of last week’s dozens of overdoses.
An emaciated brunette in her 30s, who would not give her name, said spice helps when she can’t get other drugs.
But others said they won’t take spice, after an initial experience that bordered on terrible.
“It scared the heck out of me,” said a man who gave the name of Larry. The 50-year-old said his heart raced, and he became panicky.
“Cocaine is cocaine, marijuana is marijuana, spice is not one thing,” Harker said. “You don’t know what you’re getting. It’s extremely dangerous.”
When a win is a loss.
The owners of TN Gas and Convenience claimed victory when they reopened their market on Monday, after a judge ruled in their favor and ordered the city to restore their business license.
I’m sure Gatsas was thinking, ‘Who cares what a judge says?’
Gatsas has no regrets. “If it happened 100 times,” he said. “I would do it 100 times the same way.”
New Hampshire is behind the curve.
New Hampshire, in fact, does have a weak law against synthetic drugs, but efforts to strengthen it were sidetracked this year.
“In the end, it was determined there was little we could do legislatively,” said Rep. Don Lebrun, who worked on the legislation.
You wonder if the marketing agency that created Joe Camel isn’t behind the Smacked! brand of spice.
Two years ago, Central High School suffered an outbreak of five spice poisonings.
Marijuana goes for about $10 for a gram; spice is $10 for four grams, which can be rolled up into about five cigarettes, said Mientus, an unemployed foundry worker who said he tried spice only once.
Mark Hayward’s City Matters appears Thursday in the New Hampshire Union Leader and UnionLeader.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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