‘No reaction’: Father questions Govt’s response to synthetic cannabis

The AM Show 04/10/2018

A father wants to see more action from Government on a synthetic cannabis crackdown, with the drug suspected of taking his son’s life just 12 months ago.

"It's been over 12 months now since my son died and god knows how many other people have died and yet there's been no reaction coming through and saying 'hey we need to fix this'," Louis Jones told The AM Show on Thursday.

The Head of the Drug Foundation says synthetic drugs fit the criteria of class A substances, but he doesn't want to see them become one.

Health Minister David Clark wants them reclassified following two deaths in Christchurch that have been linked to a suspected bad batch that made 19 people sick.

Drug Foundation CEO Ross Bell told Newshub synthetics would fit the bill for a class A substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

"They're causing so much harm that based on [the] criteria you would make them a class A or class B drug within in the Misuse of Drugs Act," he said.

But Mr Bell said the Government should instead be focusing on a health-based approach and invest in treatment.

"Talking about longer sentences and cracking down with more police powers, in my mind that doesn't meet the definition of treating this as a health issue," he said.

In fact he wants the whole Misuse of Drugs Act reviewed.

"The Law Commission recommended scrapping that law and starting again because it's not doing the thing that it was designed to do," he said.

An Auckland mother is asking for more support dealing with the effects of synthetics after her son managed to beat his addiction.

Erika Perkinson told Newshub they had no idea there was a problem.

"It's undetectable, you don't know who's using it until it's really too late," she said.

She said people need all the support they can get.

"It's painful and nobody understands and everyone has judgements and they don't know that you're doing your best," she said.

Mr Jones, whose late son had been addicted to psychoactive substances since 2012, said he had no idea where to go to get his son help.

"You come out the door and you go, 'where do you go?', if I had a broken leg I'd go see a specialist," he told The AM Show.

Watch the full interview with Louis Jones above.

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