Native Affairs - Synthetic Weed Nearly Killed Me

WARNING: There are disturbing images in this video.

Drugs that were legal but are now illegal and unregulated. Nine people have died from a lethal mix of the drug in Auckland. But there are also problems in the regions. 

Synthetic drug users will not be deterred by the recent spate of deaths in Auckland according to a former user, 23-year-old Dean Grey.

Grey says users are so addicted they won’t care, despite not knowing what is in the drug that can cause cardiac arrest, seizures and psychotic episodes.

“You know you’re doing that to yourself but you just don’t care, you just want to get that high.  It’s just ugly,” Grey says.

He says the Government should be accountable as many people like himself were exposed to the drug when it was legal.

“They made it legal and opened up a whole different scene. Nobody knew what synthetics were before it was legal.”

Grey, who recently graduated from rehab, says users need to get off the drug as it destroys relationships and lives. He’s now facing charges of aggravated robbery following a three-year addiction. Grey went public with his story and released footage of himself in a drug induced state to deter others from synthetic drug use.

Te Utuhina Manaakitanga counselor Hunia Rodgers says the problem is getting worse but help is available.

Rodgers who works with whānau as part of the Utuhina Manaakitanga Whānau Ora programme says Māori need to be vigilant to stop the drug and step in as soon as they suspect whanau are using.

He believes rehab programmes are effective and there are many services available to help. “If a whānau member is in a crisis, we’ve got to do something about it. We can’t sit back and watch.”

If you need help or advice with addiction issues phone Alcohol Drug Helpline O800-787-797 or text 8681.