My friends are addicted

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Teen writes powerful letter to Prime Minister on legal highs

A Washington Valley teenager has written a powerful letter to the prime minister, urging him to ban legal highs because “most of my friends are addicted to them”.

Whetu Wade’s letter started as a task in his school English class. The students were asked to write a hypothetical letter to the editor of their local newspaper and Whetu wrote his on legal highs.

“It’s really addictive for anyone, but especially young people. I’ve seen young people that haven’t had it in a while and [they] are quick to anger. Most of my friends are addicted to legal highs,” he wrote.

His teacher thought it was so good he forwarded it to Nelson Weekly to print and then helped Whetu write another letter, this time to John Key.

Whetu explained how easy it was for under-agers to buy legal highs and how it was making them do “idiotic stuff” and “vomit all over the place”.

He urged the PM to ban them for life.

Youth Nelson teacher Daniel Hawke, says legal highs directly affect young people and he’s proud of Whetu addressing the issue so well. “We deal with the effects of legal highs on a regular basis. It’s a really challenging part of our jobs, but amongst those challenges we have great successes, Whetu’s success here is just one of those.”

Last year the government passed the Psychoactive Substances Act, which means “low risk” products can be sold to people over 18. Councils can pass their own bylaws, but Nelson City Council has put its draft local approved products policy on hold until it receives more information from the government.

“Legal highs are bad for our young people:
People smoke legal highs to look cool in front of their friends. Lots of young people smoke legal highs to trip out [hallucinate] they see things that people don’t believe in. By doing this it excites them, which is why people do legal highs.
Young people access legal highs by asking homeless people to buy it for them. They buy it from [retailers]. Some places are still easy to access for young people if you look old enough. They even ask family members to access it for them. People under 18 can get it easy.
It’s really addictive for anyone but especially young people. I’ve seen young people who haven’t had it in a while and are quick to anger. Most of my friends are addicted to legal highs. As a young person like myself I wonder why people do legal high. It just makes them look like druggies and makes them do idiotic stuff that they don’t usually do and makes them vomit all over the place.
The mood they get depends on how they are feeling. If they’re feeling down they would have a down buzz or if they’re happy they would get a happy buzz but most of the time you get a down buzz.
Legal highs should be banned for life. The government should get rid of the horse tranquiliser and the chemicals that disturbs our health.” Whetu Wade.