‘Zom­bie’ cannabis in New Zea­land

The Guardian Weekly - - International News - Eleanor Ainge Roy

A spate of deaths in New Zea­land linked to “zom­bie drug” syn­thetic cannabis has prompted the coun­try’s chief coro­ner and po­lice to is­sue an ur­gent pub­lic health warn­ing.

In July alone there were at least seven deaths in Auck­land, which ap­pear to be linked to the use of syn­thetic cannabis but po­lice said the prob­lem was na­tion­wide.

Chief coro­ner Deb­o­rah Mar­shall said her of­fice had seen that num­ber of peo­ple who had re­cently used syn­thetic cannabis or were found with the drug on them. “I’ve also been ad­vised by St John [Am­bu­lance] that 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,” she said.

“While the po­lice and coro­nial in­ves­ti­ga­tions are still at an early stage, and the fi­nal causes of death have yet to be es­tab­lished, the num­ber of cases where syn­thetic cannabis ap­pear to have been a con­tribut­ing fac­tor has prompted me to is­sue this pub­lic warn­ing.”

An emer­gency medicine spe­cial­ist at Welling­ton hos­pi­tal, Dr Paul Quigley, told the New Zea­land Her­ald a sin­gle roll-up made with syn­thetic cannabis is equiv­a­lent to 15 cannabis joints.

“Syn­thetic cannabis is one of the more dan­ger­ous prod­ucts around and is re­spon­si­ble for some im­me­di­ate health harms,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.