Five-year-old and two other Porirua children 'lucky to survive' after ingesting synthetic drug

Synthetic drugs, often mixed with dried leaves resembling cannabis, have claimed at least 20 lives in New Zealand this ...
CHRIS SKELTON/STUFF

Synthetic drugs, often mixed with dried leaves resembling cannabis, have claimed at least 20 lives in New Zealand this year. (File photo)

A 5-year-old and two other Porirua children had to be taken to hospital severely ill after ingesting synthetic drugs.

One of the three children, aged 5, 8 and 13, all from the same family, was in a critical condition when admitted earlier this month, Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Ferguson, of Kāpiti-Mana, said.

"The children were not smoking it. We are still working through how it got in their bodies."

Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Ferguson says the three children were "very lucky to survive". (File photo)
CAMERON BURNELL/STUFF

Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Ferguson says the three children were "very lucky to survive". (File photo)

All three had since been released and were expected to make a full recovery, he said.

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"There were three young children severely affected by it and were very lucky to survive.

"This stuff is very dangerous and it's shown recently, nationally, that it's fatal."

The revelation comes as police and the chief coroner joined forces to warn of the perils of synthetic drugs, with about 20 deaths this year under review, mostly in Auckland.

Officers executed search warrants at four properties at Cannons Creek earlier this month and found more than two kilograms of synthetic drugs as well as two shotguns, a large amount of ammunition, two rifles and cash.

A 22-year-old man has been remanded in custody after he appeared in Porirua District Court on charges related to firearms, and the sale, supply and manufacture of illicit drugs.

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NZ Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell said the organisation bought about 1.7 grams of the drug for $20 – typically cheaper than traditional cannabis – on the black market in Porirua in August.

It was tested along with a sample from Auckland at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research.

The Porirua sample contained a synthetic cannabanoid called 5F-ADB, which was linked to the unexplained overdose deaths of 10 people in Japan in 2014, Bell said.

"This sample was probably enough to make a couple of joints.

"There's a range of different chemicals on the black market, and in different parts of the country there's different chemicals."

A spokesman for the Capital & Coast District Health Board said: "We experience very few synthetic cannabis-related presentations to the emergency department at Wellington Regional Hospital."

Anyone with information related to synthetic drug dealing can contact police or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

 - Stuff

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