The Drug Foundation is extremely pleased with the Government’s announcement today of a complete review of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
The review was announced by Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton when he released Cabinet’s decision to reclassify bzp-party pills.
“The review of this 30-plus-year old law is great news and overshadows the announcement to ban bzp-pills,” said Ross Bell, Drug Foundation Executive Director.
“The Misuse of Drugs Act is a patchwork of amendments, many of which were ad hoc responses to short-term public or political concerns. This has led to inconsistent legal treatment of substances, and has limited the options available for control, especially for emerging new substances,” Mr Bell said.
The Drug Foundation has long recommended a review of the drug law, saying that New Zealand’s current law is obsolete and should be replaced with a framework that can more effectively tackle existing and new drugs.
“The introduction of party pills exposed the weaknesses of our current law. There was nowhere in the schedule to place party pills, and even though they’ll now be scheduled, we’re still left unable to deal with any new substances cooked up by clever chemists,” said Mr Bell.
While the Drug Foundation questions the value in banning bzp-party pills, it welcomes the government’s six-month amnesty period which provides time for party pill users to get informed about the changes and avoid immediate criminalisation.
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.