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Clear advice on designer drugs

Clear advice on designer drugs

21st January 2011
Matt Bowden

Social Tonics Association New Zealand Chairman and party pill developer Matt Bowden echoed police messages today that since the banning of BZP party pills the recreational drug market was more dangerous for consumers with the unregulated nature of the black market, and added clear advice for users.

"For a number of years in New Zealand we self-regulated our safer drug alternatives, you knew what you were getting, they were non addictive and they didn't kill people," said Matt Bowden today, "our last government had an opportunity to properly regulate these products and make them even safer, but instead made them illegal to the peril of consumers. We are now seeing the consequences of that action, as predicted."

Mr Bowden was speaking in response to warnings of designer drugs including 2C-P which may be in circulation at the Big Day Out, and stressed that the key differences between 2C-P and real ecstasy were the long delay time for 2C-P to start working and the hallucinogenic nature of the drug.

"The key problem with 2C-P that consumers need to know is that it can take up to four hours to start working, whereas real ecstasy can be felt in twenty minutes. This means somebody buying 2C-P may buy one, eat it, then half an hour later think they have got a dud and eat two or three more of them, not realising that what they have got is an 18 hour long trip coming on, which is now going to be an overdose and when the drug does come on it isn't a loved up buzz where you are hugging everybody, it is a strong trip which you may wish you could switch off in a crowd setting." Mr Bowden advised people to use a buddy system, "You are best to have somebody in your group all the time who is not taking alcohol or drugs and if you are tripping too hard try to find a quiet place with less stimulus and if need be seek medical help from St Johns, they won't arrest you."

"The best advice is to actually avoid taking any pills or powders and be that person who is not taking drugs or alcohol, the music should be loud enough that you can feel it and enjoy it without random designer drugs messing up your day."

Mr Bowden said New Zealand was leading the way in terms of drug policy but a lot of work was still to be done. "If we can get the laws straight and end the 'ban' culture, we will be able to develop safer drug alternatives to reduce the amount of illegal drugs being consumed by the hundreds of thousands of everyday kiwis who for genetic or cultural reasons choose drugs other than alcohol to celebrate. We would like to put new drugs through formal clinical trials to establish safety and then make them available to users in a regulated market, it really is the only pragmatic solution."

Mr Bowden said he had put forward a detailed submission on drug toxicity testing to the Law Commission on their review of the Misuse of Drugs Act last year which will be made public in the near future. "We have learned the same lesson over and again from the days of alcohol prohibition forward through the racially motivated 'War on Drugs' in the 1960s and 1970s. When you make a drug illegal you don't neccessarily decrease consumption of that drug, you simply make it more dangerous, conversely proper testing and regulation can make the market a lot safer."

"I will be making more information on future developments available at the release of my rock video 'Higher' within the next fortnight," said Matt Bowden, "the video spells it out a bit better, until then let's party safely."

Video preview of "Higher":


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