Rotorua retailers spurn latest legal high craze

By Sonya Bateson

The latest legal high craze hasn't yet hit Rotorua shops, but one local retailer says it sounds like "just a have".

A new synthetic drug called Crack, the street name often given to either cocaine or methamphetamine, has been discovered in a small number of Auckland stores and one outlet even offered to sell glass pipes to people who bought the white powder.

While the Crack packet does not list the ingredients or distributor details, it gives the chemical registry number for phenethylamine - a compound structurally related to psychoactive drugs.

It is sold in a small plastic bag stapled to a cardboard packet with an image of a glass pipe on the front and costs $75 for 200mgs.

The Daily Post visited a number of stores that sell legal highs to see whether Crack was available in Rotorua.

Skingraft owner David Young said it all sounded like "just a have". He had never heard of Crack and said if it were a quality legal high sold by a reputable company, he would have known about it.

After looking at a picture of Crack, he said the cardboard packet didn't look very authentic and thought the price of $75 was too expensive, especially if Crack did contain phenethylamine, a compound which was found in a number of everyday items.

A search on the internet found phenethylamine listed as an ingredient in chocolate, weight loss supplements, cocoa and a number of meats.

The owners of the Wild Things Adult Store and the Dianne Dairy, who did not wish to be named, said they had never heard of Crack.

People posting on, an internet forum about drugs, were among those who condemned the product, with one saying it was "outrageous" and another slamming the marketing as "reckless".

One user even said the product was "useless" and told readers to save their money.

The Ministry of Health and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne, who is drafting legislation to clamp down on legal highs, were unaware of the product, although Mr Dunne said its marketing came as no surprise.

"It pretty well sums up this shabby industry and irresponsible kind of people it contains. It is somewhat ironic that they will go to the trouble of using these images but will not list the ingredients of their products."

National Poisons Centre toxicologist Dr Leo Schep said phenethylamine was a naturally occurring compound which acted as a neurotransmitter in the brain, was present in chocolate, and purported to have benefits associated with mood and weight loss.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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