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Nandor hails 'sensible' decision on BZP

Nandor hails 'sensible' decision on BZP

Today's decision by Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton not to ban pepper-based energy tonics is a step towards a more sensible and workable drug policy, Green MP Nandor Tanczos said today.

Although the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs has recommended that the pills containing benzylpiperazine (BZP) not be banned, it has recognised that better control and regulation could be achieved if the Misuse of Drugs Act was amended to include a new category to allow age restrictions.

"Today's announcement sets the scene for a more sensible approach to drug policy," said Nandor, the Green Party spokesperson for Drug Policy.

"As we have said for some time, the Misuse of Drugs Act is too blunt a tool. Today's EACD report and Mr Anderton's comments have recognised this.

"We have a situation where there are no grounds to ban them, but we need some legislative alternatives. Introducing two new categories to the Act will give some needed flexibility. That would allow the sale of these pills to be restricted to those over 18 years, and also create a category where sale is prohibited but use is not criminalised.

"The Greens would like to see a consistent framework for the regulation, treatment and information on all drugs. That is why amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act are vital. We urge Mr Anderton to consider this when he reviews the Act, as he has indicated he intends to do," said Nandor.

Nandor said that the EACD had stuck to its brief and made the only decision it could, based on the information available to them.

"If the EACD had recommended the substances be banned, there was a real risk of driving these substances underground and creating a new ready-made market for gangs to exploit. The EACD has acted correctly in basing its recommendation on the sound science, not sensationalism.

"The situation in Dunedin where some people became ill after mixing them with large amounts of alcohol is rare because responsible retailers already provide good information to their customers. This needs to be more consistent and the industry is already looking at a voluntary code of practise. You wouldn't expect good advice about these kinds of things from a dairy.

"But there's simply no reason to ban something just because some people like to take it and dance their butts off all night."

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