Dad, help me: I'm dying from the inside

Wayne McFadyen wants synthetic cannabis users to stop smoking after seeing its effects on his son. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery
Wayne McFadyen wants synthetic cannabis users to stop smoking after seeing its effects on his son. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery
A Dunedin father says he was tossed around his house ''like paper'' by his son trying to go cold turkey from the synthetic cannabis product, K2.

Wayne McFadyen has a simple message for people smoking synthetic cannabis.

''Stop smoking that s***.''

His 24-year-old son is in Wakari hospital, sedated and in isolation following a psychotic episode earlier this week.

Mr McFadyen contacted the Otago Daily Times following the incident, as ''I have to do something, otherwise it falls on deaf ears''.

His son smoked K2 for a month, developing a two-packet-a-day habit, but decided to go cold turkey after seeing the effects it was having on friends, Mr McFadyen said.

''His thinking and behaviour just went haywire.

''He couldn't control himself and ran around our house at a hundred miles per hour, would jump up, and be crying `help me Dad, help me Dad'.

''That was pretty heartbreaking.''

His son also felt suicidal, could not eat or sleep, attacked a neighbour, and repeatedly head-butted a garage, Mr McFadyen said.

''I am 148kg and he would be lucky if he was 70kg, but he was throwing me around like a bit of paper.

''I haven't seen anything like it.''

His son was admitted to the care of mental health authorities after his wife made a call to St John, and police were called to assist because of safety concerns.

Mr McFayden said police had called the family several weeks before, after his son was found with a mate, stoned on K2 in a car covered in vomit.

Mr McFadyen said young people seemed to smoke it for a brief buzz, and the ''fact the cops can't touch them because it is legal''.

''I know people who smoke dope who don't do this sort of thing.

''Maybe they should legalise marijuana and get rid of this other crap.''

As for retailers of synthetic cannabis, ''they should smoke it solidly for four hours and see what they think about that''.

His son, who he said has ADHD, but was not on any medication, would now spend at least the next week in hospital for assessment.

''You know what he said to me? - I am dying from the inside, Dad, I am dying from the inside.''

Dunedin-based toxicologist Dr Leo Schep, of the National Poisons Centre, said psychotic episodes was ''one of the major symptoms we note with users'', along with paranoia, and anger.

He was also aware of five recorded instances of renal failure, and one case of a first-time user becoming a paranoid schizophrenic.

''We are also starting to believe there may be long-term effects. It is scary stuff.''


Time to legalise cannabis

Well yet another synthetic cannabis statistic and a very frightening thing for any parent to deal with, I hope he has a good outcome.

I would like to echo the father's call to have these synthetics removed from sale, but to be truly effective we have to realise there is a demand and where you have a demand you have supply and it’s the prohibition of real cannabis that has caused this demand.

When watching the synthetic market take off you must ask yourself is this because these drugs are better in any way to cannabis and the answer is no, so I believe the main driving force behind the market is people not wanting to break the law and for that they pay a high price.

This entire situation has been so poorly managed and it’s high time we wake up to the fact that people like to alter their senses and have the safest environment for them to do so. If we don’t we can expect much more of the same and even worse like solvent abuse, huffing LPG and maybe burning to death in the process.

Whether you agree or not with cannabis use, its safety record is better than that of alcohol and certainly better than synthetics. Having grown up in Dunedin I remember a time that you could have been beaten up for drinking the wrong brand of beer, and just as that culture has changed our attitude towards cannabis needs to evolve. [abridged]

Vote for state control

Take cannabis off the Free Market, where supply is from organised crime. Regulate and quality control it as an age restricted consumer product.

Decriminalise the real stuff

I can't understand why the law makes marijuana illegal and not tobacco or alcohol. Yes, driving under the influence of anything that affects your judgement should be illegal because you might hurt someone else. But why should the law attempt to protect you from something that affects only you when you can get good information about the substance and so make an informed decision? 

On the other hand, in the case of these artificial substances, you cannot get good information or make an informed decision and yet they are legal. Surely this inconsistent legal situation cannot be defended as protecting individuals and/or society from harm?

Banning K2

It is near impossible to ban synthetic cannabis. Unlike cannabis which is a plant, K2 and other synthetic cannabis products are simply a mixture of herbs that have been sprayed with a chemical. That chemical mimics the effects of cannabis. No doubt most people would then suggest that the government simply ban the chemical, but that is what they have been doing - over and over again. The problem is that the manufacturers simply keep altering the chemical structure, and in doing so create a new product. So every time the government issue a ban, the manufacturers are already in possession of and distributing a new and therefore legal product. And you can't ban a chemical that in one sense hasn't been invented yet.
That's how far ahead of the game the manufacturers are. That's why they are called 'designer drugs' - and they just keep on redesigning them.
The new legislation will put the onus on the manufacturers to prove that any psychoactive product is safe before it can be sold to the public. The government is correct to be taking its time to get it right. The manufacturers of these products have proven to be one step ahead, and if the government doesn't act with caution and get it right, these manufacturers will find a loophole and drive a truck through it.


K2 vs. cannabis

This father's comment was interesting and pertinent.

''I know people who smoke dope who don't do this sort of thing. Maybe they should legalise marijuana and get rid of this other crap."


K2 must be urgently banned.

Yet another heartbreaking story of yet another parent driven to the depths of despair by K2. Make no mistake about it - these parents going public are only the tip of the iceberg! It defies belief that such a dangerous drug is legal.

Wayne, I admire you hugely for publicly taking a stand and I am with you 100% in calling for K2 and any other product like it to be urgently banned. The cost to the country is going to be astronomical otherwise. How the people profiting from this drug can sleep at night?

Thank you for your courage

This is an appalling freely available chemical. Does anyone know why it is not on the classified A ~ C list? [Abridged]

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Sandringham HouseOamaruRetirement & Rest Homes
Fairway Lodge MotelWanakaMotels
John R Mackay, Chartered AccountantsDunedinAccountants