31 Oct 2018

Rough sleeper found dead outside central Napier shop

4:24 pm on 31 October 2018

A rough sleeper and known user of synthetic drugs was found dead outside a central city shop in Napier early this morning.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

A police spokesperson said he was found outside on Wellesley Road by emergency services at about 6.30 am.

"The man was known to be a user of synthetic drugs.

"However, the official cause of death will be determined by the Coroner,"

A friend of the man, who did not want to be named, told RNZ he consumed synthetic drugs shortly before he died.

The death of a 55-year-old man in Maraenui, Napier, in August was believed to be linked to synthetic cannabis, prompting the Hawke's Bay police to issue a warning that a new batch of synthetics was causing "severe reactions" among users.

Provisional figures from the coroner show between 40-45 people died from synthetic cannabis in the year since last June.

In the previous five years there were just two deaths.

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