Synthetic cannabis re-termed synthetic drugs after claiming 20 lives in New Zealand
The chemical inside the deadly drug which has killed around 20 people in New Zealand this year was the same one which left drug users in a "zombie-like" state in New York in 2015.
In December last year, The New York Times carried a new report about the "mass casualty event" after scores of people suffered adverse affects from a synthetic drug containing AMB-FUBINACA said to be "85 times more potent than cannabis".
The extremely dangerous chemical was found in deadly drugs consumed by Kiwis this year, police have revealed.
Ten deaths over the course of July were linked to the hazardous drug in Auckland alone, triggering a number of seizures of the drug by police as well as a public warning over its dangers.
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Detective Inspector Scott Beard said, "I want to be very clear that we have been open and transparent about our testing. This is what ESR is finding in the drugs we have seized".
Synthetic drugs have been linked to around 20 deaths in recent months nationwide, prompting a renewed warning to stay away from the chemical-based substance.
The product had been referred to as "synthetic cannabis" but a renewed warning to stay away from the substance has prompted police and health authorities to call it synthetic drugs.
The Chief Coroner and New Zealand Police are pleading with people to stay away from the deadly drug.
Beard is calling on the community to tell police who is selling and manufacturing these drugs.
"We need your help to catch these offenders and to hold them to account," says Detective Inspector Beard.
"You may have noticed that we are not calling it synthetic cannabis.
"It is not cannabis.
Beard said police have made a "significant number of seizures and arrests" and are "focused on arresting those responsible for the sale and supply of this dangerous drug."
The Office of the Chief Coroner has around 20 deaths related to synthetics under review and has issued a renewed warning for New Zealanders to steer well clear of the extremely dangerous substance.
"Each case is a tragedy for the family and friends of those left behind," Judge Deborah Marshall said.
"While many deaths have occurred in Auckland, a number of cases in other parts of New Zealand have also been reported to Coronial Services.
"Using any illicit drug carries risks, and in the case of synthetic drugs, they are known to cause potentially fatal seizures.
"I urge anyone considering using this drug not to do so, and for those who are, to reach out to services that might assist them," she added.
Anyone with information related to synthetic drug distribution can contact their local police station or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
People concerned with someone's health following synthetic drug use can call 111 and ask for an ambulance.