A worried father has spoken about the dangers of legal highs
after his son was put on life-support after having smoked a
synthetic high product.
On Thursday last week, the 24-year-old Dunedin man smoked the
legal high, Karma, and was later taken by ambulance to
Dunedin Hospital in a serious condition.
His father, who did not want to be named, said his son did
not know who or where he was, and had to be restrained by
''He was off the planet ... completely gone.''
His condition deteriorated to such an extent he was kept in
ICU for three days on life-support.
With a temperature near 40degC, his ''whole body began
shutting down at one stage''.
''It has affected him so badly and we realise we could have
lost him,'' he said.
His son was later transferred to a general ward before
returning to his parents' home ''in a very sad state''.
The father was not surprised to read in the Otago Daily Times
this week that Karma was one of five products pulled from New
Zealand shelves after users reported adverse health effects.
The five brands had been previously assessed by the Ministry
of Health, and in August were judged low risk enough to be
sold to the public.
The other legal highs - AK47, Anarchy, Northern Lights Primo
and Voodoo - appeared to contain the same active ingredient.
Karma, Anarchy and Voodoo were sold via a Christchurch-based
company, Eversons International Ltd, which could not be
A spike in calls to the Dunedin-based National Poisons Centre
led to the products being withdrawn, leaving 42 legal-high
products sold under interim licences.
While welcoming the removal of the product, the man's father
questioned why products had been sold as legal highs when
they were later found to be harmful.
''Someone has to take accountability.''
He and his wife had taken time off from their full-time jobs
to look after their previously healthy son.
He questioned whether there was any benefit in keeping the
remaining legal highs on the shelves.
''It has been horrible, horrible for all of us.''
Consultation on more permanent legal-high regulations is
expected to begin next month.