Synthetic highs reach epidemic proportions in Rotorua

By Leah Te Whata
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Rotorua ambulance officers have been called to 11 incidents involving 15 patients in the last 24 hours who were possibly affected by psychoactive substances.

Young Rotorua man Beau Morrisson says, "If you don't wanna die, don't f****** smoke that stuff."

Former synthetic smoker Betty Epiha says, "I got hooked on it, my first cone was actually like rocked my head like I couldn't breathe at all."

Former drug lord Bille McFarlane says that the answer to the synthetic problem lies within the addicts themselves.

“We need to sit and listen to the people who are struggling with synthetic addictions, they have the real answers.”

Betty Epiha says that legalizing marijuana would fix the problem.

"Straight up they should legalize weed and make synnies illegal."

Rotorua's Labour candidate Ben Standford says that legalization of marijuana is a real consideration in the fight against synthetics.

"Rotorua and New Zealand, in general, I think that we have to have a discussion around if we do wanna legalize and what that would look like and how that would regulate the market. That's something that politicians definitely need to be talking about."

Billie McFarlane is calling on the local council, government and community to band together in order to stamp out synthetics in Rotorua.