Frontlines – ‘Synthetics’

I watched a current affairs show last evening.. about recent issues around ‘synthetics’ in NZ. The show was broken up into 3 parts:

1) showing evidence of the still wide-spread use of ‘synthetics’: a gang house in South Auckland, that once sold cannabis (‘tinnies’) is now making huge profits from selling these ‘synthetics’ ($10k/day was mentioned ?). There are other regional centres in the North Island, including the port city of Tauranga. It was stated that as these drugs are now underground (black-market, totally unregulated) kids as young as 10 years old are using them.
The interviewer was shown some seized imported ‘cannabinoids’ by a customs agent. He said they still get quite a lot, coming from overseas.. mostly ordered online, BUT most is manufactured in NZ

2) they interviewed a couple of manufacturers/dealers, who stated: the ingredients are easily available & are becoming more widespread & more dangerous than Meth. (P) they stated that the usual thing being used was ‘Horse Tranquiliser’ & said that had heard of some other dealers just spraying the ‘mixed herbs’ (substrate) with FLYSPRAY. They joked that they often sold to kids around 12-13 & even as young as 10.. BUT then said it was actually disgusting, BUT that’s the reality of the black-market (money talks). The dealers said they had also been users, but no longer, as they had both suffered seizures & ended up in hospital, as a result. They said they also knew these ‘synthetics’ were far more addictive than the previously ‘legal stuff’ OR natural cannabis.
They interviewed the head of the NZ Drug foundation who said, he was aware of the current situation (which he called ‘backyard chemistry’) & said that ‘natural cannabis’ was definitely far safer.

3) The interviewer obtained 4 samples to be chemically tested for contents.. 2 from shops (non-psychoactive ?) & 2 from black-market dealers:
“The results were SHOCKING”.. they spoke to toxicologist who revealed that one contained : ‘5f-pb-22’ a substance known to caused seizures & kidney damage/failure. Another contained : ‘AB-Fubinaca’ also a very toxic substance, that could cause kidney damage. One of the so-called ‘Legal highs’ (from a shop) contained : ‘Hordenine’ an appetite suppressant used by bodybuilders. So much for saying they are ‘Synthetic Cannabis’.. NONE of the substances, contained anything that could be scientifically called a ‘cannabinoid’ ! (even though the interviewer, used this term constantly)

They also added another statement from the head of the NZ Drug foundation: the way forward is, as is happening in USA etc. a REGULATED legal ‘natural cannabis market’ take it from the gangs/black-market..
BUT they interviewed the Minister, who stated that ‘this issue is only very small & that natural cannabis is still a much bigger issue’ (ie. buried his head in the sand.. AGAIN !)

All the recent talk, by the minister about ‘safer drug use’ is obviously just that.. he still refuses to move on genuine law reform & would obviously prefer to see a black-market & prohibition maintained, even if it causes more harm ?! 😦

Addendum: I did a web-search on the compounds mentioned: 5f-pb-22 & AB-fubinaca are both called ‘cannabinoid agonists’ – they are synthetic ‘designer drugs’ that bind to or activate the same receptors as cannabis compounds. Hordenine is a ‘alkaloid’ first extracted from cactus (Peyocactin). I am not an ‘expert’ so just copied this from ‘Wikipedia’

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