CHILDREN as young as nine are becoming addicted to synthetic drugs that are widely available in shops throughout Perth, says Liberal MLC Phil Edman.
The Rockingham-based politician caused uproar this week when he produced in the parliamentary chamber samples of the drugs that his office had purchased. His actions put the government into overdrive, with 33 additional chemical substances immediately added to the prohibited list of the Poisons Act.
Mr Edman says his office bought synthetic cannabis products from two local stores, one across the road from a high school.
“I have a massive drug problem down here,” he says, revealing a local mum had told him her nine-year-old son was addicted. “Hospitals are getting more in-patients because they’re getting sick on synthetic substances. We are playing catch-up, we won’t fix the epidemic we’ve got.”
Stocks of synthetic drugs, including one that promotes itself as “liquid marijuana”, are readily available in Fremantle despite warnings a chemical ingredient can cause cancer and birth defects.
The $11.99 breath spray or “buzz in a bottle” produced by Jesus Had a Sister Productions, encourages users to get high at work, in class and even naked in church. The Canada-based company says the blue-coloured spray contains no real marijuana and if you believe the packaging, “you must already be stoned”.
Any trader selling synthetics containing any one of the 33 listed chemicals faces fines of up to $2000 or two years’ imprisonment for possession and up to $100,000 or 25 years for sale, supply and possession with intent to supply.
Selling to minors carries stiffer penalties. WA police minister Liz Harvey told the Legislative Assembly last week a “grouping of agencies” had been formed to review legislation and stop “the peddlers of these poisons”.
Mr Edman says all synthetic drug brands should be banned, including “liquid marijuana” sprays. He says retailers have refused his request to voluntarily stop selling the products.
Last year, a 120-day national ban on 19 substances was announced following the death of Sydney teen Henry Kwan who—high on fake LSD and thinking he could fly—dived out of a multi-storey window.
by CARMELO AMALFI