A Wagga magistrate has highlighted tainted drugs as a real issue in the community, after a man revealed he believed he was misleadingly sold the wrong drug.
The issue arrived when an unrepresented man faced Wagga Local Court on Wednesday, charged with driving with an illicit drug.
Justin Williams, 38, pleaded guilty to the charge as he admitted to Magistrate Erin Kennedy he was a cannabis user but believed it was laced with other drugs.
Ms Kennedy told Williams she believed his explanation but reminded him of the dangers involved in buying drugs.
“From where I am sitting I hear this story again and again,” Ms Kennedy said.
“When you’re dealing with drug dealers – who knows what’s in it.”
For those struggling with mental health issues or other problems, Ms Kennedy said the thought of methamphetamine contained in cannabis can be “terrifying”.
“It is a real issue and a terrible thing,” Ms Kennedy said.
“This should inspire many people to give it up.”
The charge sheet tendered to the court stated Williams was caught driving with methamphetamine and delta-9 in his system on May 27, when he was pulled over for a random drug and alcohol test.
Riverina drug and alcohol worker Damien Kennedy told The Daily Advertiser on Friday that lacing was part of drug dealers’ plans to pull people over to the dark side.
“A drug dealer will gradually make it more potent until the addiction takes hold and they have to keep coming back,” Mr Kennedy said.
“With young ones especially they’ll think they’re having a good time and that it’s alright to keep going with a few little pills here and there.
“Then they start making it stronger until it goes to ice, or speed or heroin so they can get their high.”
While Mr Kennedy is involved in programs educating school students on the dangers of drugs, he said addiction and dealing is particularly prominent in smaller Riverina towns.
“We try to educate people because at the end of the day you’re taking a risk with your life,” Mr Kennedy said.
“Places like Narrandera, Leeton and Hay - there’s nothing to do there so young people get hooked.
“It’s the only excitement happening in those small towns.”
Mr Kennedy said the problem was even worse for those with mental health issues.
“They are more likely to attack people because they are already fighting with other demons,” Mr Kennedy said.
Originally from Hay, Mr Kennedy said on a recent trip he discovered the area had become a “zombie town”.
“Those smaller towns are going downhill, big time.”