Up until 2014, the sale of synthetic cannabis in New Zealand was considered a global test case for legalised drugs. With the introduction of tighter controls the synthetics market has gone underground, and the harm to the community has spiralled. At least 25 deaths were linked to synthetic drug use in 2017.
VICE NZ follows animal lover and former addict Tammara, 20, as she grapples with her recovery from the drug that has dominated her life for six years. We also meet ex-user Trey whose best friend died after smoking synthetics aged just 17. Talking to family members, a former dealer, police, customs officers and an emergency medicine doctor/toxicologist, VICE investigates how and why this drug has become responsible for the deaths of New Zealanders in unprecedented numbers, revealing the raw reality of this under-reported crisis.
'Syn City' is the latest episode in VICE NZ's Zealandia series. It was made with the help of NZ on Air.