Empty eyes & wasted lives

South Waikato News - - Your Local News - LUKE KIRKEBY

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.

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