Mosgiel residents hooked on legal highs are resorting to
crime to pay for their habit, the community's top cop says.
Sergeant Kevin Davidson, of Mosgiel police, made the comments
at last week's Mosgiel Taieri Community Board meeting, where
he called legal highs ''absolutely abhorrent'' and said he
supported them being banned.
Parliament is expected to pass the measure this week.
Emphasising it was his ''personal'' view and there was no
''proof'' behind his theory, Sgt Davidson said he believed
people taking legal highs were resorting to ''minor thefts'',
such as shoplifting, to fund their habits.
''We would assume that a large number of people responsible
for those thefts are gaining money to buy legal highs.''
However, it had not resulted in an increasing number of
thefts, with legal highs probably only taking the place of
It was inevitable the drug would go underground once it was
banned, he said.
''I think anything people don't want you to have, whether it
is mum and dad saying you can't have it or [it is illegal],
there is going to be a market for it.''
Speaking to the Taieri Times after the meeting, he said the
''horrible stuff'' had anecdotally been involved in a lot of
police callouts, especially for domestic violence.
The argument that banning the substances drove them
underground was irrelevant to police, who ended up ''mopping
up'' the ill effects regardless, he said.
Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairman Bill Feather told the
Taieri Times it was difficult to gauge the impact of legal
highs in Mosgiel, but the impending ban was welcome.
''Just how nasty it's become will probably become evident as
those that take it now, their sources dry up,'' he said.
He said border control measures would need to be strong to
ensure legal highs did not enter the country after the ban.
The community identified the issue as a problem at an early
stage and tried to minimise the harm, including asking
retailers not to stock them, he said.
East Taieri Church senior pastor the Rev Dr Martin Macaulay,
in a statement, said the church welcomed the decision to ban
legal highs until the proper testing regime to control them
''The abuse of legal highs has been shown to have a harmful
impact on users, especially the young and vulnerable.
''We, along with other churches and organisations serving the
community, are forced to deal with the fallout from such
abuse, so we are pleased that Parliament has responded to the
nationwide calls to ban their sale.''
Dr Macaulay said the church remained concerned about drugs
and alcohol abuse.
''New Zealand's binge-drinking culture continues to place
considerable strain on our hospitals and courts and, most
importantly, on our families.
''We need to work together as a community, and as a country,
to address the unhealthy attitudes underlying this