The horrors of K2: case studies

By Rachel


Locals are warning against the effects of K2 and other synthetics and are welcoming the ban which came into effect yesterday.

Michaela Smith, 25, took the drug three months ago after her partner bought a packet from the dairy.

The K2 had been rolled into a cigarette, which Miss Smith said she had about half of.

"It kicked in really fast, after about three or four minutes. I was so paranoid, I was anxious, my heart was racing. I was texting people to say 'help me, help me', Miss Smith recalled.

"I called an ambulance and I said on the phone that someone was out to get me. I thought someone was going to stab me. Two police officers turned up with the ambulance."

Miss Smith described her reaction as being similar to a panic attack. She said by the time the ambulance and police turned up she had calmed down a bit and was "absolutely mortified" by what she had done.

"I apologised profusely and I said 'I can't believe this is legal'.

The police and ambulance staff said it was just a normal night for them. This kind of reaction was just a regular occurrence."

She says it was the scariest experience of her life and warns parents to educate their children of the dangers.

"I would never touch it again, it was so scary. If that can happen to an able-bodied, healthy adult, who knows what it would do to kids? It's just not worth it," Miss Smith said.

A local man, who did not wish to be named, also said the drug had wreaked havoc on his life, causing him to lose his job and up to 20kg. He had smoked it every day for 18 months instead of cannabis, due to routine drug tests at work.

"I felt I needed something to look forward to when I finished work. I'd race home, straight into the wash-house and have a smoke. By the time I got into the house to my partner and children, I'd be wasted."

Some days he would sit in the wash-house for hours before making it inside.

"I'd have a smoke and then I'd be gone. I'd snap out of it an hour later, realising I'd been hallucinating, having long conversations inside my head.

"I thought it was amazing, way stronger than marijuana. I started smoking it hard-out. I was spending $20-$40 a day, if I didn't have the money I could put it on tick at the dairy.

"I was passing the drug tests at work and I was just laughing at my mates who were still smoking marijuana."

He said he would sometimes smoke before work or even at work, in a job where he operated heavy machinery.

"I could handle it, unless I was really wasted, then sometimes - bang - I'd smack into something."

Eventually he became unwell. "I couldn't keep food down, I had lost 20kg and I was really sick.

"I couldn't admit it was the drugs, I blamed it on anything else."

He said the drug made him depressed and lethargic, which meant he often nodded off during the day and was wide awake all night. When his work began to test for synthetics he lost his job.

"I thought about selling legal highs to make a living, but I was so sick. I thought: If I do that, I'm making other people as sick as I am. I'm part of the chain. I asked myself what is important - making money or ruining people's lives? I decided nah, that's it for me."

He suffered withdrawal symptoms in the days following his decision to quit and battled to hold down any food.

"I was shaking, spewing, my body wouldn't work. I was having mood swings and taking it out on the the kids, really sad stuff." On the third day he made a train track for his kids and managed breakfast, lunch and dinner and said he hasn't looked back.

"Losing my job was the best thing to happen to me or I would probably be dead. It was my wake-up call. This stuff is real bad, I can't see how it can still be sold.

"I haven't smoked for five months. I feel amazing."


- Hawkes Bay Today

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