Drug death toll now 9
A 31-year-old woman found dead at a West Auckland address was believed to have been smoking synthetic cannabis, police say.
Her death is the ninth thought to have been linked to the drug in Auckland in the past month.
Emergency departments have seen a spike in patients who had used the psychoactive substance.
Many were suffering hallucinations and seizures leading to cardiac arrest.
Acting Detective Inspector Peter Florence said the public could be assured police were taking synthetic cannabis harm ‘‘very seriously’’.
‘‘Police officers across the country are conducting search warrants and seizing synthetic cannabis, and we are continuing to put suppliers and manufacturers before the courts.’’
Although the latest victim may have been smoking synthetic cannabis a short time before her death, there may have been other contributing factors, police said.
Earlier in July Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall issued a health warning over escalating synthetic cannabis harm.
‘‘I’ve also been advised there have been a significant number of non-fatal cases where people have been hospitalised after using the drug, which is known to cause potentially fatal seizures.
‘‘While the police and coronial investigations are still at an early stage ... the number of cases where synthetic cannabis appear to have been a contributing factor [to the death] has prompted me to issue this public warning,’’ Marshall said.