Le­gal high guinea pigs pay big price

Ban comes too late to mend harm­ful con­se­quences

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA FEATURES -

Le­gal Highs: Why are we mak­ing it easy for our young people to fry their brains? Nearly ev­ery­one I speak to, re­gard­ing the ‘‘le­gal highs’’ is­sue, is hor­ri­fied and acutely con­cerned about the ad­verse re­sults from the sale of highly toxic sub­stances.

The Psy­choac­tive Sub­stances Act 2013 was en­acted in July last year by our politi­cians by a whop­ping ma­jor­ity of 119 votes to 1.

The per­mis­sive­ness of this law is ev­i­dence, that drug tak­ing for recre­ational use has be­come deeply em­bed­ded in our cul­ture.

This law le­git­imised 41 ‘‘le­gal high’’ chemical com­pounds, which were be­ing sold in shops up and down the coun­try.

They had tem­po­rary ap­proval for sale un­til the test­ing regime was in­tro­duced!

In other words, the ‘‘le­gal high’’ man­u­fac­tur­ers were aided and abet­ted by our politi­cians, to use the people in New Zealand as guinea pigs.

I heard tox­i­col­o­gist ex­pert Dr. Leo Schep, of the Na­tional Poi­sons Cen­tre on Na­tional ra­dio talk about the ev­i­dence that has been col­lected re­gard­ing the se­ri­ous side ef­fects of le­gal highs.

These are a rapid heart rate, acute vom­it­ing, ag­i­ta­tion, seizures, psy­chosis, hal­lu­ci­na­tions, acute kid­ney in­jury, heart at­tacks and strokes. The cost, to the health sec­tor from the car­nage of this lib­eral leg­is­la­tion will be mas­sive.

A quar­ter of calls to the Na­tional Poi­son Cen­tre helpline, is about le­gal high side ef­fects and have come from those un­der 18 years old.

Even though the Govern­ment has done an about face last week and re­voked the sales of ‘‘le­gal highs’’, ir­repara­ble harm has al­ready been done to many people, par­tic­u­larly our youth.

There is no doubt that this will have also have in­creased the num­ber of people who have be­come ad­dicted and re­quire help from our strait­ened health ser­vices

So how do we pro­tect our younger gen­er­a­tion from fry­ing their brains?

Don’t look for help from our law­mak­ers; they have been sin­gu­larly inept and neg­li­gent.

As adults we have the re­spon­si­bil­ity and a duty of care for the well be­ing of the next gen­er­a­tion.

In­di­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively we need to come up with pro­tec­tion strate­gies for our youth.

Be­fore we have a high pro­por­tion of the next gen­er­a­tion rid­dled with high de­pen­dency and re­duced men­tal fac­ul­ties. ◗ Dame Sukhi Turner, cit­i­zen of Wanaka and Dunedin Mayor 1995-2004

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