August 03, 2017
Synthetic drug terror sparks call for caring approach
A Maori public health advocacy group wants a regulated market for recreational drugs.
Synthetic cannabis was banned six years ago because of public concern at the adverse effects of many of the products being sold but at the same time the Government refused to loosen looming-standing prohibition of naturally-grown cannabis.
Hapai Te Hauora chief executive Lance Norman says since then, synthetics have become increasingly dangerous and may have killed up to 10 people in the last month alone.
He says treating the issue as a criminal problem has proved a massive failure and it needs to be seen as a health and social issue.
"Most people on these synthetics, they are in such a bad place through poverty or homelessness or there might be some mental health issue, some social deprivation they have had, that they are hot really in a position to be made aware of how bad these products are," Mr Norman says.
Canada has a regulatory system that seems to be working to reduce drug harm.
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