Syn­thetic-pot dead at nine in Auck­land

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

WELLING­TON, New Zealand — New Zealand of­fi­cials on Fri­day urged peo­ple to stop smok­ing syn­thetic mar­i­juana af­ter nine peo­ple died af­ter us­ing the drug this month in Auck­land, the na­tion’s largest city.

The lat­est was a 31-year-old woman who died Thurs­day even­ing. Po­lice sus­pect she was smok­ing syn­thetic mar­i­juana shortly be­fore her death, though they ac­knowl­edged that other fac­tors may have con­trib­uted.

Syn­thetic mar­i­juana is made with chem­i­cals sim­i­lar to those found in nat­u­ral mar­i­juana to give users a high. It is il­le­gal in New Zealand, where au­thor­i­ties say the drug is dan­ger­ous and is some­times laced with other chem­i­cals.

Chief Coro­ner Judge Deb­o­rah Mar­shall said the drug can cause seizures and many peo­ple have been hos­pi­tal­ized af­ter us­ing it.

Act­ing De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Peter Florence said Fri­day that po­lice were tak­ing the prob­lem se­ri­ously and do­ing ev­ery­thing they could to get the drug off the streets.

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