After appearing in the Oamaru District Court on burglary charges, an Oamaru man decided legal highs were ruining his life.
The 21-year-old, who declined to be named, said he began stealing to fund his addiction.
“It made me a bit stupid in the head when I smoked it,” he said.
He was smoking legal highs every day and is now successfully weaning himself off it.
“I wasn’t myself, that’s for sure,” he said.
“It’s ruining civilisation.”
He said the legal highs didn’t make him violent but it had an effect on his mental health.
“It bought me over to the dark side,” he said.
“It’s damaged some brain cells, I would say.”
The young man got addicted to the buzz the legal highs gave him and admits a contributing factor to him starting was the fact his friends were smoking it.
“I got addicted to it and that’s when the drama started,” he said.
“It just makes you crazy.
“It makes you panic ’cause your body thinks that you need it.”
He said if he had a time machine, he would go back and never touch it.
“It’s definitely ruining one of my mates,” he said.
“He just goes berserk sometimes.
“He can’t control himself.”
The young man’s goal is to be completely free of legal highs and start working towards a trade.
“I’ve got more energy since I’ve started getting off it,” he said.
“If I was on it, I wouldn’t have mowed the lawns today.
“I would have been too lazy.”
He has a message for those still smoking the legal highs.
“Get off it right now before you regret it,” he said.
“Especially the young ones.”
He said he not only decided to get off the legal highs for his own good, but also for his family.
“She [mum] never thought I’d do anything like this,” he said.
When asked what effect the sale of legal highs would have on a community like Oamaru, his answer was simple.
“It’s going to go under,” he said.
“It’s time to get it off the shelves and put it in the rubbish and leave it there.”
By Jessie Waite