According to the BOP Times, counsellors are encouraging synthetic cannabis users to smoke “the real thing” (marijuana) an illegal class C substance.
These revelations are contained in the Western Bay Of Plenty District Council psychoactive substances policy stakeholders meeting report.
BOP Addiction Services which comes under the district health board, and Te Puna Hauora, a community mental health service, said in the report that the number of people seeking help for addiction to legal highs was quite small but some of the problems were considered “significant” – these included hallucinations, seizures and impulsivity, including climbing out of moving cars.
“There are always going to be impulsive and silly people no matter what they are taking”, says one analyst – “when you factor in mental illness, immaturity, alcohol and life in general, legal highs don’t even show on the radar, the hysteria is unjustified.”
According to the BIP times, Addiction services dealt with just three or four people per month for detoxification while Te Puna Hauora saw between two and five young people or children per month, the report said.
The numbers are small in comparison to methamphetamine, cannabis, alcohol and gambling addictions.
The report claims that “16 to 17-year-olds are ‘a total mess’ and in fact recommend that they use cannabis in preference to synthetic cannabis. Anecdotally they are aware of a death as a result of consuming psychoactive substances.”
The report fails to mention that gigantic number of deaths caused by alcohol and tobacco each year. Anecdotall evidence is far from appropriate in this case.
“Mount Maunganui GP Dr Tony Farrell agreed natural cannabis was safer than legal highs.”
Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services Trust director Tommy “Kapai” Wilson said the best option was not to take any drug but he also believed synthetic cannabis was worse than natural cannabis.
However no evidence is shown to prove that natural cannabis is in fact “safer”.
Katikati resident Anne Bowling, who has personally spearheaded the town’s response to legal highs, was at the meeting and said she was “filled with horror” by the “level of social carnage” she believed would occur if synthetic legal cannabis could be sold in the family-orientated town centre.
Some residents are suggesting that legal highs should be restricted to sales “online only” and that people should “enjoy the products in the privacy of their own homes”.
Anne Bowling distributed a petition yesterday to get the council to agree to an exclusion zone which would mean legal highs could not be sold in more than half of the Katikati CBD.
The stakeholders report has been put on the table and given to councillors. They have adopted a draft psychoactive substances policy which opens for submissions today.
The draft policy restricts the location of premises selling psychoactive products to the Te Puke and Katikati central business districts between the hours of 9am and 5pm only on Monday to Saturday. They did not want legal highs sold on a Sunday, in much the same way alcohol used to be restricted.
Shops could be no closer than 750m from each other and at least 100m from schools, libraries and medical centres.
BOP times writes; Katikati’s Bamboo Barn owner, one of the few shops licensed to sell legal highs, said she would not be able to operate under the draft policy because it was outside the CBD but the owner said her customers preferred the more discreet location.
She was working to start her own petition recording the age of her customers and their views on the matter.
Tags: Bay of Plenty