Drug battle not over
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.