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Friday, June 7, 2013

Synthetic drug kills Henry Kwan

What hope do parents have when legal synthetic drugs from China are being sold on the internet so cheap, anyone can afford to throw caution to the wind and find out what it's really like to get high. On Wednesday night we lost a brilliant young man, Henry Kwan, who wanted to be a doctor.  Henry was in Year 12 at Killara High, dux of his class.

Not long after ingesting the drug, he entered into a psychotic episode, stripped off his clothes and plunged over the third floor balcony of his Killara home, convinced he could fly.  His mother tried to grab him but he was too strong.  He died from massive head injuries.

Police said that in many cases, synthetic LSD was being sold to teens not used to drug use - such as Henry - young people who have never been in trouble with drugs or police before.  They are often bought over the internet cheaply and sent through the mail, mostly from China.  A police spokesman said "It gives the drug an air of legality or they think it is safe because it's on the internet, but there's nothing safe about it."  A 17 year old has been charged with supply of a prohibited drug and will face court on July 3.

Last year, a middle-aged couple looking for excitement, bought a white powder that promised the same high as cocaine.  They called it "bath salts", a legal, synthetic drug.  Truck driver Glenn Punch 44, and his girlfriend injected the drug while in the cab of his truck one Saturday afternoon, just for fun.  They bought the powder called "Smokin Slurry" at an adult sex shop in Newcastle.  Although it was labelled NOT FOR CONSUMPTION, it was sold as a legal high.

Two days later, they were both in a deep, psychotic state and became so hot, they started discarding their clothes.  A naked Mr Punch jumped a barbed wire fence, attacked a security guard and went into cardiac arrest.  He died in hospital two days later.  His long-term partner was found a few hundred metres away, topless, agitated and bloody after falling out of the truck.

The synthetic drug industry here is now so huge, it's estimated to be worth $600 million a year.  The drugs contain chemical substances developed to mimic illegal drugs like cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine.  When authorities identify the chemical used and ban it, manufacturers simply change it to something else that's legal. This makes it impossible for police to clean it up, if they seize a drug, it could turn out to contain legal substances.

The innocent and naive are being conned into believing they can take a trip for a few dollars safely, and hopefully, the tragic death of Henry Kwan will resonate through every school and university in the country.