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FROM THE FRONT PAGE
Legal drug addiction hits families
Making their statement: Protesters on Dee St in Invercargill campaign for law reforms over legal synthetic cannabis drugs.
They want to raise awareness about the dangers of legal highs and want the Government to do something about them.
Photo: LOUISE BERWICK 627824307
Police and health system
failing to give support
YOUR DRUGS SAY
What are your views on synthetic cannabis products?
Have you experienced the effects of the drugs? Are they safe?
What should the Government do about them?
Let us know at: email@example.com or make a comment on our
facebook page at: facebook.com/TheEyePaper
By LOUISE BERWICK
A concerned and desperate
Winton mother has seen her two
teenage sons placed in straitjack-
ets and put in police cells.
She has walked in on one son with
a belt around his neck attempting
to commit suicide.
In less than a year, they have
plummeted from being happy
young adults in their late teens,
with lots of friends and bright
futures, to become isolated and
consumed by synthetic cannabis
products that mimic the effects of
class-A designer drug P.
Now their brave mother has
spoken out because she wants to
raise awareness of the dangers of
synthetic drugs. But she is also
deeply concerned for her boys'
safety, which is why The Eye
agreed late yesterday not to name
her after one of the sons became
terrified, and acted irrationally, at
the possibility of public exposure.
''People would work out who we
are and I have to protect them,''
she said of her sons, who have
spent hundreds of dollars weekly
on legal highs like K2 and
Kryptonite since first trying them
10 months ago.
Their mother is part of a growing
group nationally who want to
force the Government to speed up
reforms and hopefully stop the
selling and distribution of legal
She also wants to let other parents
know what the reality is when
you have to live with children
addicted to synthetic drugs.
Last Saturday, she took part in a
protest from Dee St to the
Glengarry Shopping Centre,
which saw more than 50 people
rally against legal highs.
Among the protesters were great-
grandparents, teenagers, politi-
cians and young children -- many
who have seen the same devastat-
ing effects of legal highs.
The boys' mother hopes the
protest and her story will
encourage others to speak up
about what she describes as a
''living hell'' because her sons can
display irrational behaviour. One
minute they are fine but the next
they are ranting and raving, even
banging their heads on the table.
Suicidal tendencies also come
with the territory, she said.
When they do not take the drugs
they are aggressive or depressed
and start sweating and vomiting,
and the pair cannot be left alone.
She said the drugs had ruined
their family and had also taken
their toll on the people around her
sons because they no longer had
friends, and their other two
siblings do not want them living
in the house.
''It really hurts if you live with it
She has taken them to doctors,
sought help from mental health
services and even called the
''You ring the police, they ring
mental health to help them, and
lock them in a straitjacket.''
One son has once been placed in a
police cell overnight for his own
protection, while the other has
been locked up twice for the same
Three months after getting
hooked on the legal highs, they
came to their mother asking for
She took them to the doctor and
the pair were on medication for
nine weeks, but ''basically the
medication stopped working'' and
the brothers returned to their
Finding help was the problem and
the Government had failed her
children and the health system
was also not able to deal with such
cases, she said.
''They should be in hospitals but
there are no facilities out there for
Now she just wants to see law
reforms introduced, the closure of
shops selling the legal highs and
more help given to people
struggling with addictions.
She plans to keep protesting to
demonstrate to her boys what
lengths she will go to for their
protection. But she also hopes her
actions and courage to speak out,
even through anonymous means,
will stop other people's children,
brothers, sisters, friends and
relatives from getting ''hooked''.
''I think it's so bad that lives are
going to be lost if they [Govern-
ment] don't pull finger and do
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