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Central High School students need medical care after using fake pot

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 26. 2012 1:10PM

MANCHESTER - Two Central High School students were taken to the hospital this week and several others needed medical care after smoking K2, the synthetic designer drug known as fake marijuana, police said.

One of the students taken to the hospital had an elevated heart rate and stroke-like symptoms after using the designer drug, said police Sgt. Craig Rousseau.

Four received medical care Friday morning after smoking K2 in Bronstein Park, within walking distance of the inner city high school. Police said about 7:30 a.m., a detective saw a man light something and smoke it, before passing it along to four students, ages 15 and 16.

Police immediately approached the man and the students. Two of the students were issued summonses for possession of tobacco, while one had a packet of the suspected K2, police said.

All were given medical attention and their parents were notified.

Later in the morning, an ambulance was called to the high school for a reported overdose. Rousseau said he believes that involved a student and K2 as well.

He said several days ago, one Central High School student was taken to the hospital after suffering an elevated heart rate and stroke-like symptoms after smoking K2.

Police said the man in the park had a packet of suspected K2 on him and initially gave his name as "Joe Bernile." He told police he had no identification and was homeless.

Skeptical, police arrested him for possession of a controlled drug. At the station, he was positively identified through his fingerprints as Andrew Worster, 20, of 36 School St., police said. He was released on a summons to appear for arraignment on Nov. 15 in 9th Circuit Court, Manchester District.

Police said the suspected K2 packets will be sent to the state laboratory for testing.

"K2", also known as "Spice," became illegal in New Hampshire on Aug. 18, but Sgt. Craig Rousseau said it is still being sold in the city and some people, including some students, believe it is still legal.

Rousseau said the synthetic drug is sold in shiny, little packages with cartoon characters on them. One of the packets seized recently had the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland on it, he said.

Police usually will not arrest someone for possessing K2 until after the substance seized is tested at the state laboratory. Rousseau said that is because manufacturers frequently change its formula so that the substance falls within legal limits.

The designer drug began showing up in Manchester about a year ago and is usually sold as incense at small variety stores, he said.

A nationwide synthetic designer drug investigation in July by the DEA and other federal agencies resulted in the seizure of $36 million in cash from searches in 109 communities, including a home in Gilford and stores in Salem and Somersworth.

Among the drugs seized were 4.8 million packets of synthetic cannabinoids - K2 or Spice. K2 is actually plant materials coated with dangerous psychoactive compounds that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, according to federal authorities.

Crime Public Safety Health Gilford Manchester Somersworth

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