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Psychoactive substances law change to take effect

Media statement, May 7, 2014

Psychoactive substances law change to take effect

The interim licensing period for psychoactive substances ends at 12.01am on Thursday (tonight), which means it will no longer be legal to manufacture, distribute, retail and possess such substances.

This follows the signing into law today of the Psychoactive Substances Amendment Act.

The Police, Ministry of Health, Public Health Units (PHUs) and Customs are working together to ensure that psychoactive substances are no longer distributed or sold. As part of this process the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority will be overseeing the supply chain recall, while the Police and PHU enforcement officers will be enforcing the new regulations. Support for users who may need assistance withdrawing from these products is available through addiction and treatment services. The Ministry has also developed information for police, schools, general practitioners and other health professionals.

The end of the interim licensing period means the following, effective at 12.01am, Thursday, 8 May.

• It is no longer legal to sell the remaining 36 interim approved products.

• Retailers should securely store these products and return them to their suppliers for disposal.

• Wholesalers are required to recall their products from the market.

• All recalled product is to be destroyed in an approved, verified and safe fashion by wholesalers or manufacturers in accordance with the recall order. Authorities will act to seize product if recall does not occur.

• Members of the public who have remaining products are advised to return these to retailers or follow disposal recommendations on www.health.govt.nz/psychoactivesubstances

Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority Manager Dr Donald Hannah says Police together with Ministry of Health Enforcement Officers will be visiting retailers to ensure that they are abiding by the law from midnight tonight. Interim licence holders were advised earlier this week of their responsibilities under the Act and penalties for non-compliance, including requirements for disposing of product for importers, manufacturers, suppliers or retailers.

‘While the law change ends the interim licensing period, it does not mean that licence holders can no longer have any responsibilities. We will be working closely with suppliers in particular in this regard.’

The authority will be following up with wholesalers, retailers and product suppliers to ensure compliance with the amendment including return and destruction of product.

The Ministry of Health has been working to ensure existing health services, including those for people with addiction issues, are aware of the law changes and that there are support services in place for those who use psychoactive substances.

There are a range of resources and support services available to users of psychoactive products – for advice on getting help go to www.health.govt.nz/pshelp or for information on the Act and disposal of product go to www.health.govt.nz/psychoactivesubstances.

For more information, contact Kevin McCarthy, senior media advisor, 021 832 459

If the public have any on-going concerns regarding illegal sales and distribution of psychoactive substances, they should contact local Police.

Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Where to get help:

Contact the Alcohol and Drug Helpline for help to stop using: 0800 787 797

The Alcohol and Drug Association offers alcohol and drug information: www.alcoholdrughelp.org.nz
To find the nearest alcohol and drug service in your region go to: www.addictionshelp.org.nz/Services/Home

For more information about psychoactive substances and getting help go to www.health.govt.nz/pshelp

If you are experiencing withdrawal and feel worried, unsafe or vulnerable, or you have concerns about someone else experiencing withdrawal, call the free, 24-hour Healthline on 0800 611 116 to speak to a registered nurse.

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