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Samuel Andrews, Harm Reductions Adviser: Synthetic Psychoactive Substances - How did we get here, and what can we do?

Over 45 New Zealanders have died since mid-2017 from synthetic cannabinoids. Hundreds more experienced serious side effects like psychosis and overdose. Synthetic cathinones are also being mis-sold as other drugs leading to serious side effects and hospitalisations.

There are things we can do immediately to support those struggling and other actions to address the root causes of these issues. Subscribe to updates, learn more about synthetics, and lead a response in your area. 

Subscribe to updates Synthetic cannabinoids Synthetic cathinones What we're doing
Overview of synthetics: Synthetic cannabinoids/Synthetic cathinones. Downoad PDF for accessible file

Why these substances can be more dangerous than traditional drugs

People sleeping rough or not working are at risk from synthetic cannabinoids

Give people the information they need

Demand changes to our drug laws

Map of where cannabinoids have been found


Synthetics Community Response Toolkit

By working with others in your community, you can make a difference for those most at risk. There are no quick fixes, but there are practical actions you can take. This December 2018 updated toolkit contains:

  • An overview of synthetics in New Zealand
  • A model for a community response to specific incidents
  • What to do if someone is unconscious or overdoses
  • Language to use when talking about synthetics.

DOWNLOAD: Synthetics Community Response Toolkit (PDF)

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Responding in an emergency

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Talking to people using synthetics

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Community responses to incidents

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Sign up for updates

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We believe that access to accurate, clear information is essential to reduce drug-related harm. This index provides harm reduction advice for drugs that are common in New Zealand.

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