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New schedule to tackle legal substance abuse

15 September 2004

Government proposes new schedule to tackle legal substance abuse

Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton told Parliament today that he intends to introduce a Supplementary Order Paper to the government's Misuse of Drugs Amendment (No 3) Bill in an effort to strengthen the response which state agencies such as the Police and Customs can make in the campaign against drugs and substance abuse.

In his first reading speech on the Bill, Jim Anderton signalled that the SOP is being drafted in response to calls for the creation of a new schedule within the Misuse of Drugs Act.

"The purpose of the new schedule will be to enable regulations to be made to protect young New Zealanders in particular against the sale of legal substances which are subject to abuse but do not warrant, on current evidence, regulation under the current risk Classes A, B or C drug classifications.

The regulation proposed will allow restrictions to be placed on such matters as legal age of purchase, retail, supply, marketing, labelling in relation to substances in the new schedule.

Examples of such substances are the "legal high” benzylpiperazine (BZP) and a variety of solvents which have come to prominence again recently over the deaths of a number of young New Zealanders.

That means that a new schedule would not necessarily be confined to substances like BZP, but could also provide another strategy in the spectrum of measures to reduce the harm associated with volatile substance abuse (VSA), which includes solvent abuse, the Progressive leader said.

ENDS

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