People have been urged not to experiment with the
mind-altering plant datura, which police say is a ''shocking
The warning followed a court case in which two Dunedin
teenagers were jailed for 10 months after stealing a pet lamb
and beating it to death while high on the hallucinogenic
Detective Senior Sergeant Malcolm Inglis said he was
concerned about reports the teens had taken the drug, which
had not been popular for many years.
''It hasn't been around for some time because people realised
how bad it is. It is a shocking drug.''
He recalled some people high on the drug had thought spiders
were coming out of their skin, and they then scratched
themselves until they bled.
''It is a very strong hallucinogenic drug ... you lose
control over what you are doing,'' he said.
Because of its dangers, many people had chosen to remove
datura from their property.
It was an ''extremely dangerous plant and we would urge
people to avoid it''.
Ross Bell, of the New Zealand Drug Foundation, said reported
cases of datura use were rare but ''I wouldn't be naive to
say that is not used much in this country''.
National Poisons centre toxicologist Dr Leo Schep, of
Dunedin, said datura was ''no longer a very commonly abused
He recalled it was a particular problem in Dunedin during the
Possible side effects included dilated pupils,
hallucinations, seizures, and comas, with ''people out of it
Hallucinations could lead to users feeling agitated,
delirious and experiencing psychotic episodes during which
they could potentially endanger themselves or other people.