The Queenstown Lakes District Council has been holding
public meetings about regulating the sale and supply of
psychoactive substances in the district. Tracey Roxburgh talks
to a former Queenstown resident about his struggle with the
A former Queenstown resident whose life has been destroyed by
psychoactive substances says the products are ''far more
dangerous'' than many realise.
Craig Dillon (43) said he began using the products after
''cartons'' of samples were sent to him to try.
Fast forward six years and Mr Dillon is on anti-seizure
medication, possibly for the rest of his life.
He can no longer drive, struggles to walk or concentrate,
lost his job and says his addiction ''contributed to the
demise'' of his marriage.
He said he had been in hospital seven times for seizures and
at one point ''my heart stopped ... I had to get
defibrillated back to life''.
Now living in Dunedin, Mr Dillon says he wants to educate
others on the side-effects and consequences of illegal
''legal highs'' in the hopes of ensuring others do not fall
victim to the same fate.
''From a first-hand point of view, it's destroyed me.
''It turned me into an alcoholic - after being awake for
several days [because of the products] I needed something to
''I've been to rehab twice now ... I've lost pretty much
everything because of it.
''It's the most destructive thing in society right now.
''My family has been my support; they have believed in me.
''A lot of people gave up on me because they saw the worst of
me, caused by the drugs.''
Mr Dillon said the substances were ''extremely scary'' and
highly addictive and, for many, the only way to ''find a way
out'' was a rehab facility.
He said he stopped taking the products because ''the supply
stopped'', but he turned to other drugs and alcohol to
''suppress that desire''.
''I was an addict and I didn't realise it.
''I used to take about eight pills a day ... about 5g of BZP,
washed it down with beer or vodka or Bacardi.
''I saw the whole thing as a bit of rock 'n' roll.''
Although he now abstains from drugs and alcohol, Mr Dillon
said the effects of that lifestyle would stay with him
Suffering seizures, he was put on anti-convulsant medication.
Missing a dose leads to a ''pre-seizure aura''.
''I can't walk. I have to lie down in a dark room, turn off
all the sounds; my mouth starts jittering; I start
''Your eyes start rolling and you start overheating - your
body feels like it's on fire.
''I can't drive - I don't want to be on the road; I'd be a
liability to people.''
Over the past two weeks, the Queenstown Lakes District
Council has held public meetings in Queenstown and Wanaka,
the first step in deciding how it would or could regulate the
sale and supply of the products in the district.
Options include a local bylaw, a Local Approved Product
Policy (Lapp), or to include it in the district plan.
Mr Dillon believed the only way forward was to regulate the
amount of the product an individual could purchase.
''From the council's point of view, particularly in
Queenstown, it's a party town.
''The reality of the situation is people are going to
experiment. The only thing we can do about that is limit the
dose that's being [supplied].''
''I can't walk properly, I can't think properly, I can't
sleep properly [but] my life is, very slowly, recovering.
''As much as I was somebody that initially was supportive of
it, I'm now totally against it.''