'He turns into a monster': Parents forced to fund son's synthetic drug addiction

Emergency services are concerned we could be facing another spate of deaths from synthetic drugs.

The Coroner is investigating three in the last month that are linked to the potent substances.

The parents of one addict are so concerned about him, they're funding his habit so he doesn't get into more trouble.

Chris*, 25, has been smoking synthetics for eight years.

"The addiction of this drug is so strong we still kept using, even with our friends dying," he explained.

His parents are at their wit's end. Chris is their only son, and they hate what he's become.

"He turns into a monster. He's not his own self... he's completely different," his father says.

"I want this nightmare just to end," his mother added.

Chris' father says they "die every time" they see their son high.

"We haven't had a peaceful day in the last eight years," he said.

They've tried everything to help their son, even booking him into a rehab clinic - but there's no bed available for another month.

As they wait, Chris' parents are funding his habit because they've been told his addiction is so bad, he needs to stay on the drugs until he goes in.

"I'd say I smoke about $120 worth a day," says Chris, whose father says has "been draining us financially for years now".

In recent weeks there have been three suspected synthetics related deaths; two in Auckland, and one in Christchurch.

Chris knows the risks of his drug use all too well.

"Every day it's like playing Russian roulette."

Around 30 deaths have been linked to synthetics in the last year, and the talk among users is that there's another bad batch out there.

Police say recently they've sent more synthetic drugs than normal to the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ISR) for testing.

In many of the samples, they're finding the potent chemical AMB-FUBINACA - the same substance linked to last year's spate of deaths.

Police say the focus is on finding those making and dealing it.

"They are worse than murderers," says Chris' father of the dealers. "They are killing people every single day."

Chris has tested positive for AMB-FUBINACA.

His parents say there's a lack of support available. and the feeling of being powerless is what hurts most.

"[If society] is going to make monsters out of humans, I don't think I ever want to be a mother," says his mother. She just wants her son to get clean.

*Not his real name