THERE were tears, screams and even a bit of jumping up and down as two women heard the news they could have only dreamed of.
They don’t know each other, but they’ve both experienced first-hand the dangers of synthetic drugs.
Kerry Walsh from Tamworth lost her son after he took his own life following an addiction to synthetic drugs, while Gunnedah’s Barbara Traynor had to watch on helplessly as her son was revived after he slipped into a coma as a result of taking the dangerous drugs.
Yesterday’s announcement that the NSW government will introduce legislation to target the manufacture, supply and advertising of synthetic drugs came as a relief to the women.
The government says the legislation will outlaw the dangerous drugs and see two-year jail terms and fines of up to $2000 imposed on those who break the rules and try to sell it.
If the legislation gets the nod, it will make permanent an interim ban on the sale of the drugs.
Mrs Walsh was overcome when she heard the news.
“I don’t want to see any other mother getting a phone call early in the morning to say your son’s taken his own life,” she said.
“I don’t wish anything like that on anybody ever.
“This is evil stuff, it’s just evil.”
Mrs Walsh said her 31-year-old son was addicted to synthetic drugs.
She noticed his whole personality changed and he became paranoid.
“He took his car apart because he thought there was a bug in it,” Mrs Walsh said.
“He kept telling me and others that people were following him, and everything like that.”
Her son took his own life in April.
“I don’t believe he would have done that if it wasn’t for the drugs, because he was always against it,” she said.
“I think they’re as dangerous as the other (illicit) drugs.
“It’s a good step in the right direction. It’s taken a few deaths, there have been other deaths ... but I’m glad they’re doing this to save other people’s lives.
“It’s helping me, but I’m not doing it for me – I want it to help others.”
For Barbara Traynor, news a permanent ban could be in place in months was something she could have only prayed for.
“I cried when I heard ... I was just over the moon,” Mrs Traynor said.
“When the interim ban came in, I was just hoping and hoping they would make it permanent. And I just cried when I read it.”
Mrs Traynor found her 20-year-old son, James, in January after he had smoked a type of synthetic cannabis. He suffered convulsions and was in a psychotic state before he lapsed into a coma.
“By the time the ambulance came they couldn’t revive him ... and they had to take him to Tamworth hospital. Thankfully they were able to revive him over there,” she said.
It was then she realised they were dicing with death with a drug that was still legal.
“I think everyone underestimated how dangerous it was. I think it’s been a big eye-opener for a lot of the young ones in this town. I know when we went public with what happened to our son a lot of parents hadn’t even heard of it,” she said.
Mrs Traynor said a permanent ban was the only way to help others.
“My husband and I are over the moon that they’ve announced the ban. I’d like to see every state in Australia get on board. I know Queensland has banned it, but I would love for it to be an Australia-wide thing,” she said.
Both mothers say they know getting rid of the drug is nearly impossible, but the new laws will target supply, which will make it harder to get a hold of.