Mother reunites with legal-high addict son

06:48, Apr 11 2014
Jesse Murray
DOWN ON HIGHS: Synthetic cannabis addict Jesse Murray, 17, has been reunited with his mother after she flew to Christchurch from Auckland in a bid to find him.

The 17-year-old who became the face of synthetic-high addiction has been reunited with his mother after she flew from Auckland to Christchurch to find him.

Jesse Murray has been sleeping rough in the suburb of Addington for the past few months. His days were spent asking for money to buy synthetic cannabis and coughing up blood.

His mother, Erika Perkinson, had not heard from him for several days when she saw him staring out at her from the pages of the Sunday Star-Times. He had joined a protest against legal highs over the weekend.

Jesse Murray
DOWN ON HIGHS: Jesse Murray was among protestors outside R18 shop on Christchurch's Lincoln Road to protest the sale of legal highs and synthetic cannabis. Murray, 17, who is addicted to synthetic cannabis, coughs up blood all day as he says it has ripped his stomach linings and claims to have lost 30kg.

Jesse had said the addiction to the drug was "killing him".

"I don't want to live like this," he said.

Perkinson flew to Christchurch this week to find her son.


She today visited synthetic-high retailers with his photograph to see if anyone had seen him.

An employee at Peaches and Cream recognised him as he went into the South City Mall in the CBD.

She called Perkinson, who immediately went to the mall.

"I thought if I called his name and he didn't want to see me he is going to run," Perkinson said.

"So I went up behind him and asked if I could buy him a burger."

He gave her a big hug, she said.

The pair are now at a friend's place where Jesse is starting to feel the effects of withdrawal. She was thinking about taking him to hospital.

"Jesse is doing OK," Perkinson said.

"He looks a lot better than we thought he would."

She hoped to take him back to Auckland as soon as possible, but was worried the withdrawal symptoms might make travel too difficult.

"We don't really have a plan at the moment."

The Press