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Keene ordinance against synthetic drugs seems to be working

Union Leader Correspondent

August 20. 2014 10:17PM

KEENE — A city ordinance adopted a year ago banning the sale and possession of synthetic drugs seems to be having a positive effect on the city, Police Chief Kenneth Meola said Tuesday.

The city ordinance pertains to synthetic cannabinoid compounds, any synthetic drug manufactured to mimic the effect of marijuana.

“You can tweak the compound, but at the end of the day, how the chemical and the product bind themselves to create the compound is actually what you are going after,” Meola said of the ordinance adopted last September.

“As soon as the ordinance was in effect the stores that were selling this stuff pulled it from their shelves,” Meola said.

When Phat Stuff on Main Street was raided by DEA officers in May, store clerks said they had stopped selling synthetic drugs when the city ban took effect.

“From all appearances ... it almost seems it has died out in the city of Keene to a great degree,” Meola said.

He added: “I would think it would have a positive impact if it was a state law.”

Dr. Harneet Sethi, medical director of the emergency department at Cheshire Medical, said Wednesday he recalls one day before the ordinance was adopted in which he saw four or five patients suffering from symptoms associated with synthetic drug use — rapid heart rate, paranoia and violent behavior.

The number of cases at the hospital is so low it is hard to study, he said. But there has been a drop in cases since the ordinance was adopted, Sethi said.

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