‘Zombie’ chemical in synthetic drugs
Authorities are now using the term ‘‘synthetic drugs’’ to describe a chemical-based substance that has claimed about 20 lives in New Zealand in recent months.
The deadly product had been referred to as ‘‘synthetic cannabis’’ but a renewed warning to stay away from the substance has prompted police and health authorities to call it synthetic drugs.
Police revealed that one of the chemicals involved was found to be the extremely dangerous AMBFUBINACA.
It was found to be behind a ‘‘mass casualty event’’ in New York 2016, where users of the synthetic cannabinoid were left in a ‘‘zombie-like state’’.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard called on the community to tell police who was selling and manufacturing these drugs.
‘‘We need your help to catch these offenders and to hold them to account,’’ Beard said.
‘‘You may have noticed that we are not calling it synthetic cannabis. It is not cannabis.’’
‘‘Each case is a tragedy for the family and friends of those left behind,’’ Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall said.
While many deaths had occurred in Auckland, a number of cases in other parts of New Zealand had also been reported to Coronial Services,’’ Judge Marshall said.
‘‘[Synthetic drugs are] affecting families and whanau across New Zealand,’’ she said.
‘‘All drug use carries risk but synthetic drugs are known to cause potentially fatal seizures.
‘‘I urge anyone considering using this drug not to do so, and for those who are, to reach out to services that might assist them, ‘‘ Marshall said.
‘‘We are not calling it [synthetic drugs] synthetic cannabis.’’
Those taking synthetic drugs take a ‘‘huge risk’’ because users don’t know what dosage of the ‘‘dangerous’’, illegal drug they are taking, Marshall said.
Beard said police had made a ‘‘significant number of seizures and arrests’’ and were ‘‘focused on arresting those responsible for the sale and supply of this dangerous drug’’.