Synthetic cannabis is known for inducing what could be described as a zombie like state of being in affected individuals. In the U.S. it is called K2 or spice.
In the last few months, synthetic cannabis has been linked to four deaths in New Zealand and about 20 cased have been referred to the authorities in Auckland on a daily basis. St John Ambulance say that they have seen a spike in synthetic cannabis cases with life threatening consequences.
In July 2017 8 people died in New Zealand from synthetic cannabis. The drug is illegal, having been banned in 2014.
No specific treatment exists for treating people with conditions related to it. The cannabinoids have been linked to cardiac arrest, and loss of faculties, inability to control ones limbs.
We need a comprehensive drug detox programme in New Zealand. The cost of administering such a programme will be paid for in kind by the socio-economic benefits of helping those affected by these substances. Also of concern, which needs an overhaul is the penalty regime for manufacturers as the low penalties ensure that it is an attractive industry for manufacturers of illegal substances to get into. To get on top of this, there needs to be a Ministry of Health/Ministry of Justice task force set up to tackle the supply and the distribution and the effects of damaged individuals in the public domain.
In a broader sense there needs to be an overhaul of the law. How much of the synthetic cannabis problem is because we have tightened on substances that can be inhaled/ingested to the point that people are prepared to commit violent crime in order to fund their habits? And if the law was amended to allow a small amount of cannabis to be on a person, would that be enough to tear the bottom out of the black market, without endangering the community?
But one thing is certain, if this is the way the supposed “War on Drugs” is going, I can understand people wanting out. It has not worked. It was an ideological concept borrowed from the United States. There it has cost billions, been a devastating part of U.S. foreign policy. We do not need to follow suit in prosecuting this war any further.