Topics: Crime, Health

‘Zombie’ drug creeping its way into NZ

By Aroha Treacher

A new wave of synthetic drug wreaking havoc in America is creeping its way to New Zealand. The drug, commonly known as Flakka or nicknamed Bath Salts because of its appearance, sends users into an uncontrollable psychotic frenzy.

Images on the internet of crazed drug users high on new substances sweep across America. Its hit Aussie and it's reached New Zealand.

New Zealand Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell says, “In fact, New Zealand had its first drug-related overdose death earlier this year so these drugs aren't going to go away anytime soon, it's very difficult for police to enforce these drugs.”

The modern drug market is filled with new chemicals, sometimes known as Flakka, Niff, Bath Salts or Zombie Drugs. Capsules that are being sold for as little as $15-$40.

Bell says, “Our border control people don't know what to look for because often they're not coming over in bulk quantities they're being sent to New Zealand in a post in an envelope and so it's difficult to look through the thousands of mail items that come into the country.”

Former Black Power member Denis O'Reilly says, “The difficulty is that people think they're buying something they might consider not particularly dangerous such as ecstasy so and this stuff is being marketed to them as that and then next minute, whoop de doo.”

Over the last two years, police have kept tabs on the drug here. It appears to be prevalent in the lower North Island, but Intel suggests it's in Auckland and Christchurch too.

The foundation says New Zealand could benefit from an early warning system that would monitor new drug trends, give information to the public and help experts treat users.

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