Crime Stoppers to tackle issue of synthetic marijuana

Example of synthetic drugs on the market. Crime Stoppers will launch a campaign in 2014 to learn more about the drugs marketed as legal highs.
Example of synthetic drugs on the market. Crime Stoppers will launch a campaign in 2014 to learn more about the drugs marketed as legal highs. Contributed

THEY come with names like Spice, K2, No More Mr Nice Guy but most often these drugs are labelled synthetic marijuana.

There is much debate around whether these products, marketed as legal highs, are actually legit but Crime Stoppers will next year launch a campaign focused on gathering information on the buying and selling of synthetic drugs.

Crime Stoppers Queensland chief Trevor O'Hara said the products were available at convenience stores and service stations and had become a challenging, global issue affecting Queensland communities.

He said health effects from the drugs could be life-threatening and could include: severe agitation and anxiety; racing heartbeat; higher blood pressure; nausea and vomiting; muscle seizures; intense hallucinations; psychotic episodes; and suicidal thoughts or actions.

"They contain powerful chemicals called cannabimimetics and can cause dangerous health effects," he said at a function on Wednesday night.

"The drugs are made specifically to be abused.

"Like many other illegal drugs, synthetic marijuana is not tested for safety, and users don't really know exactly what chemicals they are putting into their bodies.

"These synthetic drugs can be extremely dangerous and addictive."

Mr O'Hara said Queensland had the strongest legislation in Australia but faced challenges surrounding awareness of the drug risks and perceived legalities through misleading and deceptive marketing.

The new campaign comes on the back of the 3,2,1 anti-illegal firearms campaign launched in May.

Crime Stoppers Queensland received 270 pieces of information which lead to 61 weapon seizures and 58 people charged.

Regional areas where these occurred included Gin Gin, Maryborough, Moranbah, Mackay and Rockhampton.

In May alone, the service received 158 illegal firearm reports, almost 500% increase on the previous highest monthly record of 33 in November, 2011.

Mr O'Hara said Queenslanders needed to remain vigilant as authorities suspected there were still more unlicensed and illegal weapons concealed throughout the state.

The 3,2,1 anti-illegal firearms campaign followed the Queensland Police Service three-month amnesty which collected more than 19,000 firearms.

To report an illegal firearm, phone Crime Stoppers anonymously on 1800 333 000 or visit http://www.qld.crimestoppers.com.au

Topics:  crime stoppers, synthetic cannabis, synthetic drugs



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