Organisations working with people addicted to synthetic cannabis are backing the Government’s plan to take a less punitive and more health-based approach towards them.
Over the past year more than 50 people have died as a result of taking synthetic cannabis and yesterday the Government announced a plan to try to turn the statistics around.
In Hawke’s Bay, Caroline Lampp has seen first-hand the harm being caused by synthetic cannabis.
Ms Lampp is the general manager of the Whatever It Takes Trust – a mental health peer support service.
Over the past couple of years the service has been working with the homeless and rough sleepers in Napier.
Ms Lampp said those who are are addicted to synthetics are extremely unwell.
“We’ve had a number of them admitted to hospital with seizures and with severe reactions to synthetics, we’ve had one who suffered a stroke as a result of it, we’ve had a death as a result of synthetics, so clearly there’s a huge amount of harm being done,” she said.
Ms Lampp blamed that harm on the people who are making and selling the drugs.
The government is cracking down on dealers by making the two main synthetic cannabis drugs linked to the recent spate of deaths Class A drugs.
That will mean harsher penalties for manufacturers and suppliers – something Ms Lampp welcomes.