The recreational drug K2 is banned effective from today due to its active ingredient EAM-2201, a potent toxic synthetic cannabis substance.
Timaru Herald is aware of two 14-year-old boys who were admitted to hospital last month after taking the drug. One of the boys was displaying psychotic behaviour and the other had raised enzyme levels.
Sergeant Grant Lord, of Timaru, said only a few dairies in Timaru had sold the product and police would be keeping an eye on them to ensure they complied with the temporary class drug notice under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
The notice will be enforced for 12 months while Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne's office and an independent expert committee work on completing a permanent psychoactive substances regime for legal herbal high products. Manufacturers and producers will have to prove their products are safe. To date 30 substances in 50 products have have been banned.
Mr Lord said the products did not list any ingredients and they were unsafe. He was concerned that once one product was banned, manufacturers came up with another one. It is estimated that in Britain one new substance is introduced on to the market each week.
Community Public health promoter Shayne Broughton said he thought the ban was a step in the right direction and was looking forward to the new regime being in place in the middle of next year.
EAM-2201 mimics the THC in cannabis which causes the high, but is 10 times more powerful.
Effects of the drug can include cardiovascular problems, vomiting, agitation, anxiety, confusion, hallucinations and psychosis.
K2 (Kronic 2), also known as Spice, was launched as a legal high after Kronic was banned in August last year. K2 is a mix of dried herbs which is then sprayed with EAM-2201, a psychotropic substance. It has also been sold in incense or potpourri form with an industry standard of R18.
The ban means it is illegal to manufacture, sell or supply K2 or any other product with EAM-2201 in it. It is also an offence to possess more than 56 grams of the active ingredient.
- The Timaru Herald