Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse as far as synthetic cannabis is concerned…well, the phrase that comes to mind is ‘wishful thinking’. It’s only as of relatively recently that things have hit crisis point right on the other side of the world – New Zealand having become a new hotbed for unfortunate incidents.
For obvious reasons, most of those involved in the synthetic cannabis industry aren’t exactly chomping at the bit to talk to the media. Nevertheless, one mother and former user from West Auckland has spoken out about the scale of the issue, which is apparently far worse than the authorities or the public realise.
Incredibly – not to mention terrifyingly and disgustingly - Wena Theodore has spoken openly about how drug makers are making human guinea pigs are out of homeless addicts, so as to test their potentially fatal chemical creations.Chemical creations which continue to be marketed as cannabis substitutes.
Most are aware of how dangerous unknown substances can be – knowing what’s going into this stuff if anything makes it even more terrifying.
"The dealers are just adding their own chemicals into this stuff," says Theodore.
"You got turps, methylated spirits, mental health medicine, sleeping pills and rat poison.
The dealers chop it up and grind it into a powder and sell it as synthetics."
She went on to state that out of 10 synthetic cannabis fatalities to date recorded in the area, she personally knew half of them. She also said that those creating and selling synthetic cannabis are comprehensively aware of both the dangers and the escalating fatality rate – the problem being that they do not give a damn.
"They just stick in whatever they can to make money. They don't care if you die,” she added.
"Two people who passed away because of that stuff were people we knew and the dealers knew. They gave it to them anyway. It's about the money every time,”
"That's all you hear: 'they wanted, they got it, it's not my fault they died'."
Worse Than Meth
Despite having struggled with drug abuse throughout much of her life, it’s only as of now that Theodore has decided to speak about the true extent of the problem on the streets. She’s personally been clean for a while now, but is nonetheless horrified at the way in which synthetics are causing the new public health crisis.
"I have a husband in prison. He's doing 10 months in there and that was to do with synthetics,” she said.
"I had my own son on it. He was on it really bad. When he went off it, he couldn't eat, couldn't sit still. He didn't sleep for two straight weeks,”
"It's actually worse than meth."
Unfortunately, she like many others believes that there really is no easy solution whatsoever to the synthetic cannabis crisis. The reason being that not only is it a comparatively simple and cheap to make, but it will continue to be made while ever there is such explosive demand all over the world.
So it’s not until demand dries up that anything is likely to change – something Theodore doesn’t see happening any time in the near future.
"There's no undoing this. It's not going to stop,” she warned.
"We've been through so much brokenness and trauma. A lot of people have to hit rock bottom before they change,”
"But it's unfortunate that some people don't get that privilege because they end up in a box."