Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Retailers continue selling legal high

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Despite one Hawke's Bay store ending the sale of a controversial legal high drug, other retailers continue to cause upset by stocking the product.

Maraenui Dairy in Napier buckled under community pressure this week and agreed to end the sale of K2, after a community group said local teenagers were becoming addicted to the drug.

K2 is one of a number of legal high drugs that continue to cause concern, and has been linked to symptoms including paranoia, psychosis, vomiting and a racing heart.

Hastings mother Nicole Johnstone contacted Hawke's Bay Today, concerned the drug was still being sold at her local dairy in a "family neighbourhood" close to schools.

"They sell K2 and sell it right opposite a school," she said. "There are a lot of families and kids that live in the area and I am concerned about the type of people that have started hanging around."

She believed the K2 attracted "undesirables" who then loitered on the street while they were affected by the substance.

There had been an increase in vandalism in the area, and she also had concerns about long opening hours that further increased access to the drugs.

The two dairies on Gordon Rd, the Raureka Superette and Lotto Shop and the Food Store, were stocking K2 and other legal high drugs when Hawke's Bay Today visited.

Owners of the stores, opposite and alongside Raureka School, declined to comment.

However, Mrs Johnstone said she had raised the concerns with owners and they had not changed their practices.

"There are young teenagers going there to get K2 and it's unsafe," she said.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne urged people to boycott unethical retailers, and is pushing for tougher laws by midyear. Previous synthetic high products such as Kronic Pineapple Express and Juicy Puff Super Strength have been made illegal, but newer products - changed to get around the law - keep appearing.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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