The passing of world leading legislation on new psychoactive substances takes New Zealand a big step closer to healthy drug law, the New Zealand Drug Foundation said today.
“The Psychoactive Substances Act is a world first at getting ahead of the ‘legal highs’ industry and taking control of the problems these substances cause,” New Zealand Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell said.
The law, which passed its final reading in Parliament today, sets up a regulatory framework where manufacturers of products like synthetic cannabis will have to prove they are ‘low risk’ before the can be sold. It also imposes restrictions on who can make and sell the substances as well as measures to reduce availability.
“This is a cutting edge and pragmatic approach to new psychoactive substances which will reduce the harm they cause in our communities,” Mr Bell said.
“It is fantastic that the Government has listened to community concerns, acted on the evidence and built consensus on the best way to handle this complicated area of policy.”
Mr Bell said that the regulation of new psychoactive substances was the first step in the right direction for healthy drug law.
“New Zealand now needs to implement broader health-focussed changes to our outdated drug laws.”
Survey participants also reported that barriers to accessing services, resources and information were high.
A group of powerful synthetic opioids that were first detected in the country just a year ago may have already been linked to several deaths.
95% of respondents reported positive effects, in a study that looked at both prescription and black market cannabis use.