Drug bat­tle not over

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By CATHER­INE GAF­FANEY

A group of anti-syn­thetic drug pro­test­ers marched through Porirua city cen­tre on Satur­day morn­ing, call­ing for a per­ma­nent ban on le­gal highs.

Protest or­gan­iser and for­mer syn­thetic drugs ad­dict To­mairangi Pahina, 21, who fea­tured on the front page of Kapi-Mana News with her mother Kahu last week, said they wanted Porirua City Coun­cil to en­sure le­gal highs never come back to the city.

‘‘They’ve been banned, but it’s just tem­po­rary. If they’re proven safe, they could come back. We want Nick [ Leggett, Porirua mayor] and the coun­cil to hear our cries,’’ Pahina said.

Leggett said last week that the coun­cil would con­tinue to de­velop its own pol­icy to deal with syn­thetic drugs, be­cause al­though he was very happy with the Govern­ment’s ban, the coun­cil needed a pol­icy to pro­tect Porirua.

Pahina said while they knew the mayor was sup­port­ive, they would not rest un­til a law passes that guar­an­teed le­gal highs would not come back.

‘‘They’re killing our people. If progress isn’t made we’ll come back [ and protest] again and again,’’ she said.

Mana MP Kris Faafoi at­tended the protest on Satur­day.

He said it was great to see mem­bers of the pub­lic be­ing vo­cal about the is­sue.

‘‘ There’s been a good at­mos­phere. People are see­ing them [protest­ing] and they are get­ting a good re­sponse. Cen­tral govern­ment’s ban last week was a pretty big step but they need to fin­ish the job. People can make a lot of money from keep­ing the mar­ket open, so it is im­por­tant that the com­mu­nity keep up pub­lic pres­sure to en­sure the syn­thet­ics stay away com­pletely,’’ Faafoi said.

The Pahi­nas – who have faced per­sonal strug­gles with le­gal highs – have started a Face­book page called Say NO to Syn­thetic Drugs in Porirua and an on­line pe­ti­tion for syn­thetic drugs to be banned for good.

More than 800 people have joined the Face­book page and dozens have signed the pe­ti­tion.

‘‘A lot of people know about the pe­ti­tion. The mes­sage is get­ting out there,’’ Kahu Pahina said.

The Pahi­nas next step is to find a venue so they can start a sup­port group for for­mer ad­dicts.

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