Legal high teen addict reunited with mother
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 for the past few months in Addington.
His days are 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 over the weekend against legal highs.
Jesse had said the addiction to the drug was "killing him".
"I don't want to live like this," he said.
This week Perkinson flew to Christchurch to find her son.
Today, she 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 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," said Perkinson.
"So I went up behind him and asked if I could buy him a burger."
She said he gave her a big hug.
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. He looks a lot better than we thought he would."
She hoped to take him back to Auckland as soon as she could but worried the withdrawal symptoms might make travel too difficult.
"We don't really have a plan at the moment."