A man died on Auckland's Queen St in broad daylight last Saturday after using synthetic drugs, the Herald can reveal.

St John confirmed a person died due to synthetic drug use on August 4. Prior to that, the most recently recorded death was in early July.

A spokesperson said staff were called to the incident on Queen St about 1pm .

Police confirmed officers were also called to the sudden death of a man in his 30s on Queen St about 1.15pm the same day.


The man's death had since been referred to the Coroner.

A spokesperon for the Auckland City Mission said they weren't aware of the death.

It comes barely a week on from Cabinet seeking urgent advice over a spike in deaths linked to synthetic drug use.

Provisional figures, released from the Coroner on July 30, showed up to 45 people had died after using synthetic drugs in the year to June. That compared to only two deaths in the previous five years.

Then-acting Prime Minister Winston Peters called the spike "worrying" and said the Ministers of Health, Justice, Police and Customs would be seeking co-ordinated advice on how to best urgently reduce the size and the supply of this drug.

Figures supplied to the Herald by St John reveal 19 synthetics-related call-outs in Auckland since July 30. That number makes up more than half of the 35 total related call-outs nationwide during that time.

In late May, St John's medical director Tony Smith told the Herald there were concerns around a new kind of deadly synthetic drug with violent after effects.

St John has since said the "deadly batch", which caused people to become unconscious and wake up confused, agitated and often violent, had become far less common.


A bill to raise the maximum penalty for supplying synthetic drugs to eight years passed its first reading in Parliament in March with the support of National and NZ First.

This would bring the maximum sentence into line with supplying a Class-C drug, such as cannabis.

The bill has the support of the parents of 22-year-old West Aucklander Calum Jones who, after promising his sister he wouldn't take synthetic drugs, was found lifeless on the floor hours later in September last year.

His parents spoke out at the time in a bid to put pressure on the Government to do more to help struggling addicts and to support their families.