Empty eyes & wasted lives
Tokoroa Salvation Army lieutenant Steve Molen said over the last year the synthetic drug culture has got out of control in Tokoroa.
‘‘There are many families we are working with who are being taken out by synthetics. It’s just messing things up,’’ he said.
‘‘Some of them just don’t get out of bed. Whatever grandparent is around has to get the kids to school because they are so stoned.
‘‘They can’t get jobs or hold them down because they are so stoned, they are getting into debt, and people are coming around threatening because they are not paying their bills. It’s really sad.’’
Molen said even the charity’s emergency housing, church, and food bank were being affected.
‘‘Half the guys that come to our church are stoned off their trolley. All the people and families we work with are just seeing how synthetics is taking them out,’’ he said.
‘‘We run three emergency houses and from one of them we had to move a guy out because he was selling synthetics and we had to move another girl out because she couldn’t get off them.’’
‘‘People are also coming in for food parcels and they won’t tell us they need them because they have spent their money on synthetics but I know because that is the world we walk in.’’
‘‘We’re trying to work with them but it does seem to be getting out of control in this town,’’ he said.
Tokoroa Police senior sergeant Jason Henderson said synthetics played a major role in Tokoroa’s crime rate.
‘‘It’s hard to put a number on it as people don’t usually tell us what drugs they are on but I’d say at least a third of the, on-average, 15 family harm incidents we see each week could be related,’’ he said.
‘‘The problem with synthetics is that it’s easy to get and it’s cheap,’’ he said.
‘‘Realistically police can come along and take away a stash and they may or may not place charges but if a person is not willing to seek some assistance for their addiction there is little more we can do.’’
He said police would support a hikoi and advised people to steer clear of the drug.
‘‘You only have to look at what’s happening in Auckland. It’s only going to be a matter of time before that spreads further afield,’’ he said.