Kids ‘tricked’ into ‘zombie’ drug
A west Auckland mother found her 11-year-old son in a park, unconscious, after he used synthetic drugs.
Children are being given the drugs and told what they’re smoking is a joint, a social worker says.
In one case, older teenagers supplied an 11-year-old with the drugs. He then passed out and was found by his mum in a nearby park, said Keith Filo, a social worker with Family Works Waita¯ kere.
Filo mentioned the incident during a public meeting on synthetic drugs at the Glen Eden Community House on October 4.
Filo worked with a school in Ranui and said he saw kids who had ‘‘been in that zombie-like state’’.
‘‘It’s the older teenage youth who are giving it to the 11 and 12-year-olds, and they are saying ‘hey, this is a joint’. So one of the kids that I work with thought it was a joint, and he just smoked it. And then he got totally knocked out and his mum found him at Starling Park.’’
Sergeant Michael Wickman told the public meeting that testing had not found flyspray, acetone or rat poison on problem synthetics. Instead, it was the ‘‘very dangerous chemical’’ AMBFUBINACA. Although it was illegal to possess synthetic drugs, and courts could impose a $500 fine, police were not going after users, he said.
There was a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment for suppliers, and 123 people had been charged in the three months up to two weeks ago, he said.
The public meeting was called by the Glen Eden Residents Association and Glen Eden Community Patrol to explore what could be done to alleviate a problem with synthetics in the area.
Social service providers, police and local residents were among the 40 or so people who turned up to share information.
Organiser Penny Hinchelwood said education was part of the solution as the general public didn’t know much about synthetic drugs. She planned to help organise similar meetings in nearby suburbs. ‘‘There are people in our community who do care. And they work very hard behind the scenes so that we can have a better future.’’
Contact the Alcohol and Drug Helpline for help with synthetic drugs on its website or by calling 0800 787 797. People concerned about someone who has taken synthetic drugs should dial 111 and ask for an ambulance.
Users of illegal drugs often do not know the potency of what they smoke, police say (stock photo).