Three people have appeared before Manukau District Court charged in relation to possession for supply of synthetic cannabis. The arrests were made yesterday as part of Operation Hypnos, with approximately 3kg of the drug seized from five different Auckland properties. Methamphetamine, cash, six firearms, and marijuana were also seized during the operation.
The use of synthetic cannabis has come under intense scrutiny recently, with 10 deaths linked to use of the drug over the past month. There is still conjecture as to what the drug actually contains, with users and the loved ones of victims that VICE has spoken to hazarding guesses as varied fly spray, acetone, rat poison, and ketamine.
The Relieving Manurewa Police Area Commander, Inspector Mark Benefield, says police are working closely with other government agencies to make sure the public is well informed of the dangers of synthetic cannabis. "We have seen first-hand the damage synthetic cannabis can do and the danger it poses to the community. We urge those who are currently using synthetic cannabis to stop immediately and seek help if you need it," he said
"We are doing everything we can to get this drug off our streets and keep our communities safe. If you are caught making or supplying this drug, you will be arrested and held accountable for your actions," says Inspector Benefield.
Other concerned parties have been highly critical of the official response to the crisis. Ross Bell, director of the NZ Drug Foundation, says police should have released the test results of synthetic cannabis seized in earlier raids. "It seems that the whole approach to this public health crisis has been really poorly managed, and could've been much more accurate in getting information to the public," he told VICE last week.