COMMENT: It can only be good news that the over-the-counter sales of legal highs have at last been snuffed out.
For sure, the black market will have now kicked in, but once the stock piles dwindle, it should die a natural death. For the addicts and their families who have been caught up in this sorry mess, they have my sympathy. But for those who simply feel it is their right to get bombed out for recreational purposes, I feel shame.
For the life of me I cannot understand why such souls aspire to drugs (and while we're about it, over-indulgence in alcohol) in the first place. With so much awesome fun stuff to do these days, why are people not content with that?
Peer pressure, curiosity or simply a desire to float in a constant cloud of euphoria or inebriation is a pathetic reason to follow the downhill road of drugs and booze.
I urge you to visit one of New Zealand's most popular, legit online suppliers of hemp, vaporizers and "smokers" supplies including hookah pipes: www.mindfuel.co.nz. Do it. Not to stock up, but to see just how prolific this gear is and how the whole culture has become oh-so-everyday.
Fledgling users could be interested in adding to their "shopping cart", the paperback The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys or maybe the Cannabis Activist's Handbook.
Let me make it clear, this website is totally legal and is operated "responsibly, with good intent". But I ask you, where is society heading when the minds of so many seek the ultimate solace amongst the clouds?
Dig a little deeper into the darker threads of YouTube (just a couple of clicks away from the more wholesome family viewings clips) and you will see some staggering experiences that users have uploaded for the world to watch.
Like the group of losers, "experimenting" on a willing young chick to see how she would react to a goodness-knows what-it-was drug producing a mind-splitting high.
There she was, rocking back and forth on the couch, with her mates around her (no sex) "oohing and aahing" as they watched her going through her convulsions which she clearly didn't enjoy, before "resurfacing" after about five minutes. After congratulatory gestures, the young lady, who looked as if she could have been anybody's butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth daughter, shared her psycho max-out experience in jaded detail with her buddies.
Without having "been there", I can only liken the whole thing as a super bucket-list bungee-type experience, where your mates egg you on with "Yeah, you can do it babe" after which you've then joined the club and can proudly wear the T-shirt.
Yep, I can relate to that thinking, but when it comes to drugs and binge drinking, such behaviour is infantile. For so many right here in our city, this way of life is the norm. It's no big deal to have a few puffs before setting off to work or even school.
As I say, for the addicts and alcoholics who have gone down that road through troubled lives, I feel sympathy. For the rest, who are adamant that it is their right to waste themselves every weekend, or to buzz up in the supermarket car park, it just doesn't make sense.
Their sorry life-time choice is a mystery to me.
It astounds me too, what is uncovered when as a result of a bust, the drugs per se, are only part of the booty.
There are usually bank loads of cash, guns and expensive toys, as was the case when the police swooped on a premises near Feilding last week. Found, police said, were no fewer than a dozen luxury cars, seven Harley Davidsons, P, chemicals and equipment used in making it, $20,000 cash, a quad bike, luxury watches and a five ounce gold ingot.
Unbelievable that this could be happening in little old New Zealand, but such finds during these busts are regular up and down our once proud country, sometimes not even making it to the national news. We are part of an ailing society.
Brian Holden has lived in Rotorua for most of his life and has recently celebrated 10 years' writing And Another Thing.