Anyway, the illicit problem drug of choice, so to speak, in New Zealand is apparently synthetic cannabis, and it does sound quite dangerous:
Daniel says synthetics have become the drug of choice because they are cheap and easy to buy. He believes the death rate is far higher than official figures.
Despite the risks to users, New Zealand is struggling to contain a synthetic cannabis epidemic, with children as young as 11 using the drug and entire neighbourhoods collapsing under the strain of addiction.
The government has been urged to confront the crisis after 45 people died from using the drug in the past year, making it the nation’s most deadly narcotic. In September dozens were hospitalised after a bad batch circulated in Christchurch, claiming two lives.
The grip of the drug re-emerged after a Radio NZ investigation found the entire suburb of Maraenui in Napier had been “swallowed” up by synthetics, with not a single person unaffected.I am told by a New Zealand born friend that cannabis itself was readily available when he was a young man there, which surprised me a bit, as I would have guessed that the climate there wasn't really ideal for its outdoor cultivation.
I wonder if there is any push there for legalisation of the natural product as being a better alternative than the black market of the synthetic.
But honestly, I still find it hard to believe that there is much benefit to adding more drugs into the mix of existing legal ones, particularly in poorer areas where drug use seems tied up with boredom and lack of economic opportunity.