…A coroner has called for party pills and other similar substances to be made illegal as soon as possible after a drunk and drugged youth died after falling from a steep bank on to a New Plymouth footpath in December…
So starts an article on the Fairfax/Stuff website Friday 14 June.
The article goes on to say that a youth, Dakota Kahui-Totorewa, 16 years old, of Hawera had died after using some types of legal highs known as “party pills” and consuming straight Rum, and then later fell down a steep bank.
Yes, another tragedy of a young life lost. But let’s go over a few details. This 16-year-old had somehow illegally obtained party-pills (only lawful to be bought and used by people 18 and over). Further he had somehow illegally got some alcohol (also only available to those 18 and over) he then proceeded to drink the rum straight.
He was SO drunk, that, even going by the standards of New Zealand’s very generous drink-driving limit, he would have been more than double the adult drink-driving limit (or more than three times Australia, and most of the world’s, limit).
But he was apparently still alive and well, and in reasonable physical health, until he fell down a steep embankment and hit his head on a concrete footpath at the bottom.
I’m sorry but to me I wonder if the coroner made a mistake, and perhaps he should have called for a ban on concrete footpaths instead. Such paths would seem to constitute a clear and present danger to all those people who have improperly consumed substances outside of their stated terms-pf-use and then gone on to drink high strength alcoholic spirits neat.
Clearly he didn’t heed the public health warnings, such as spacing out drinks and having water or non-alcoholic soft drinks in between.
On the same day, The Herald website ran the following story on a drowning.
…A decision by Fielding freezing worker Jarrett Simeon, 28, to smoke K2 synthetic cannabis before he swam at Himatangi beach, near Palmerston North, on January 5, this year, contributed to his drowning, the coroner ruled…
Another avoidable tragedy. To what extent the legal high contributed to this tragedy, I don’t know. About 100 people a year drown in New Zealand, and many of them have been drinking alcohol, sometimes very heavily, beforehand.
People, whether they are 16 years old or 60, do need to takes some personal responsibility for themselves and act sensibly. In some cases if adults are planning on enjoying some recreation time using legal highs or alcohol, perhaps they should ensure that they have a sober friend with them as a “safety-buddy”, if for no other reason than to be the sober driver home, and ensure they get put to bed in the recovery position and checked occasionally.
Such actions would prevent many unnecessary deaths, and yet still allow adults to let their hair down occasionally, in a safe and responsible way.