Dear media: In the stampede to get the story out first, please check your facts.
Today, the Chief Coroner and Police issued a statement labelling “synthetic cannabis” as the culprit behind seven deaths this past month, at the same time releasing harmful video footage of vulnerable people suffering the effects.
Speculation is rife in the media. Stuff.co.nz quotes Police Detective Inspector Gary Lendrum as saying there has been a recent spike in synthetic cannabis use, and “further people are going to die” if something isn’t done about it.
Trouble is, nobody actually knows what happened yet.
According to a St John’s spokesman, they don’t know for sure what drugs people were taking – “it’s just been labelled synthetic cannabis”.
There has been some speculation among health officials that the synthetic opiod fentanyl may have been involved.
Here’s one fact: Synthetic cannabis is only one subset within a larger group of over 600 different new psychoactive substances.
Our informative video above explains what psychoactive substances are and why they are potentially very harmful. Our website also has more specific information about synthetic cannabis and cathinones (bath salts), plus a section on staying safer.
It’s also worth checking out Russell Brown’s concerned but still more measured approach in his Hard News blog.
07 May 2020
Although some people may be using more alcohol or other drugs during the Covid-19 lockdown, others are using the time to take a break.
07 May 2020
The Children’s Commissioner has called for schools to stop excluding young people who use alcohol and other drugs.
03 April 2020
The results of our drug checking pilot show it’s a worthwhile service that people will utilise to make safer choices about their drug use.
12 November 2019
Back in 2016, a provocative Newshub headline introduced middle New Zealand to the existence of “drug-fuelled sex binges” known as chemsex. N...
Back to top