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Psychoactive Substances Amendment Act passed

8 May 2013

Psychoactive Substances Amendment Act passed

Tairawhiti District Health (TDH) has been planning how to manage the impact of withdrawal on people taking the so-called “legal highs”. These substances now are off the shelves as a result of The Psychoactive Substances Amendment Act which becomes law today. The Act removes all remaining psychoactive products on the market and bans the use of animal testing data in support of product approvals.

The change in law means all interim retail and wholesale licences will be cancelled and all psychoactive products given interim approval will be removed from sale. It will also become illegal to possess and supply the products.

TDH Psychoactive Substances Enforcement Officers and the Gisborne Police have been out this morning ensuring that no products remain on sale.

“We have been working closely with our community partners involved in the administration of the legislation, the Gisborne Police and the Gisborne District Council on the flow on effect this ban may have” said Tairawhiti District Health’s Chief Executive Jim Green. “It has been a challenging piece of legislation, however it is reassuring that the Government has responded so quickly in addressing the community concerns about the level of harm experienced.”

It is thought that some people may need assistance to manage withdrawal symptoms if they have been a regular user of the products. Withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced include sleeplessness, vomiting, anxiety, psychotic episodes or breathing difficulties. Jim Green says there is somewhere for these people and their families or friends to turn to.

“People with concerns over addiction to substances have options in terms of who to contact and these depend on the urgency and nature of the symptoms. For general information the TDH Addiction Intervention Service can be contacted on 8690588. Advice is also available through the Alcohol & Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797. Your own GP can also offer a first point of support. If the situation is urgent or there are concerns that the person is experiencing a mental health crisis the Psychiatric Assessment Team should be called on 867 2345.”

Together with its community partners, TDH will monitor any flow on effect from the new legislation closely in the coming weeks and respond as necessary.

ENDS

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