13 August, 2012
Dunne rolls over first 16 temporary drug notices
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne is rolling over the Temporary Class Drug Notices on the first 16 banned synthetic cannabis substances, banning them for a further 12 months as their notices were due to expire this week.
The Notices were initially for 12 months, but Mr Dunne has begun rolling over the first of the 28 Notices on substances banned in the last year, with the other substances’ bans to be extended as they fall due over coming months.
The original Notices on the first 16 substances – listed for renewal in The Gazette this week – were due to expire on Thursday, 16 August.
Mr Dunne said he was doing so to ensure no banned substance – or the more than 50 products containing them – slip back into the market before permanent psychoactive legislation, announced last month, is in place by mid next year.
“This is about making sure there is no gap for those who may look to bring substances back on the market before the new law forces them to prove their products are safe,” he said.
“We have seen a 75 percent fall in the number of emergency call incidents around synthetic cannabis products since the drug notices were introduced, according to National Poisons Centre data.
“That is a huge fall and it began the very month the Notices came into effect and is a very good indication that what we are doing is working and keeping young New Zealanders safe,” Mr Dunne said.
He announced key details of the new psychoactive substances drug legislation last month. It will require distributors and producers of party pills and other legal highs to prove they are safe before they can sell them.
“The legislation will be introduced to Parliament later this year and be in force by around the middle of next year.
“As I have said, the new law will mean the game of ‘catch up’ with the legal highs industry will be over once and for all,” he said.
The permanent regime will establish a new regulator within the Ministry of Health which will be responsible for issuing approvals.
“Companies wishing to sell such products will need to apply to this regulator with scientific data similar to that which is required for the assessment of new medicines.”
Even once approved, any such products are likely to be subject to retail restrictions on purchase age and premises where they can be sold, which will further reduce their potential to cause harm, he said.