Student got car with proceeds of K2

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2013

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A Christchurch high school student caught selling synthetic cannabis to classmates made enough money to buy himself a car.

Police were contacted by a concerned parent after the Burnside High School student tried to sell their child K2 after school.

The R18 product is sold in dairies, video stores and adult stores for $20 a packet.

Despite K2 being legal, health authorities say it can make users feel aggressive, paranoid and even suicidal.

Sergeant Bevan Seal said police spoke to the teenager. They learned he had bought the product on the internet and sold it to fellow pupils of all ages.

The teenager was a year 13 student last year.

Seal said he had made enough money to buy himself a new car.

Police contacted the teenager's parents, whose response was, "it's legal, isn't it?", Seal said.

The school, which was not aware it was happening, was also informed.

Burnside High School second principal Sandra Sidaway said police told them the sales were not on school grounds and were made well outside school hours. For this reason, it was unable to take action against the student.

"Any time there's drugs on-site, we take action. The parent was very clear [her child] had not been offered it in the school," she said.

Sidaway had not been aware it was K2 being sold.

Principal Warwick Maguire said the school took a "hard line" on any sale of prohibited substances.

"If they were selling synthetic cannabis at school and we found out about it, the student would obviously be dealt with appropriately," he said.

Seal, who is running an operation asking Christchurch dairies to stop selling synthetic cannabis, said children getting access to the legal highs was "a huge concern".

Parents needed to "wake up" to the synthetic cannabis issue.

"A lot of parents are just naive. They need to watch their kids, what they are doing and their behaviour. It could be their kids are smoking this."

298 Youth Health Centre founder Sue Bagshaw said they knew of children as young as 13 taking K2, which they had got from friends.

"It's worse than cannabis. You've got no idea what's in it."

Christchurch Hospital emergency department specialist Dr Paul Gee said patients admitted to hospital after taking synthetic cannabis-type drugs were mostly young adults but also included school pupils.

He said it was a "concerning trend".

"Many young people do not appreciate the risk of taking these drugs. Each use may cause harm - each is a roll of the dice."

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