Maraenui: No local support for synthetic addicts

Synthetic addicts in the suburb Napier of Maraenui give up to stop the drug, saying that getting help is just too difficult.

Maraenui stores

Maraenui stores

Many people are affected by synthetic cannabis in the poorest suburbs of the city, children up to 11 years of age are known to use the drug.

The health council of the Hawke & # 39; s Bay District (HBDB) said help was available to those who needed it, but residents of Maraenui said help was often out of reach.

Outside the stores of Maraenui, Jack, 55, was painfully thin. His skin is almost gray. He is retired and smokes $ 200 of synthetic substances per day – about 10 bags.

"I went to the rehab clinic, but at the end of the day I still come back to this community and it's here in the community."

It was too difficult to travel to Hastings or the center of Napier to gain access to addiction services, he said.

"And there is no help here."

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Jack's best friend – another 55-year-old man – died two weeks ago after smoking the drug. It was the third synthetic death-related death in the area examined by the coroner during the past year.

Despite the death of his partner, Jack said he would continue using synthetics.

"It did not stop me … because I like it."

A free walk-in addiction center was once available here, but the community center where it was housed has been removed.

A free walk-in addiction center was once available in Maraenui, but now it is an empty lot.

There was a free walk-in refinement clinic in Maraenui run by a group of volunteers, but at the end of last year it was closed.

According to HBDHB mental health manager, Justin Lee, there were addiction services in Napier and Hastings for everyone who needed it, but fewer synthetic users sought help.

"Although we hear anecdotally that synthetic substances occur in our suburbs, we do not see much in our secondary services, but in recent months we have seen a decline."

Tracey Benson lived her entire life in Maraenui and worked in a drug rehabilitation center, run by What Ever It Takes, in neighboring Onekawa.

She did not believe that synthetic use fell.

Tracey Benson

Tracey Benson
Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

"It is quite difficult in our region because there is no local support, and many of these people do not have vehicles, they do not have phones or have access to the internet, and many of them do not know where to start.

"In the heat of the moment they want to get better, it just seems too difficult to get there and get the bus."

Given the scale of drug use in Maraenui, there had to be a daily and after-hour addiction service in the suburb, she said.

Community lawyer Denis O & # 39; Reilly – a member of Black Power's life – said a Community Action Youth And Drugs pilot to help synthetic users in Napier last year has had a tremendous amount of success by helping many people stop.

It picked up people every day, including some from Maraenui, and ensured that they were involved in community activities and volunteering. But Mr O & # 39; Reilly said his organization could not continue the financing.

The DHB said that the development of his addiction service was a top priority, but all plans were suspended until the government's research into mental health and addiction was reported at the end of October.

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