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Anderton surprised at Dr Paul Gee's comments

14 June 2006

Anderton surprised at comments of enough evidence on party pills

Jim Anderton Chair of the Ministerial Committee on Drugs, said today that he was confused by the reported comments of Dr Paul Gee of the Christchurch Hospital which were reported today in all the major national newspapers, namely that there was already “more than enough” evidence to ban BZP based party pills.

“Dr Gee has applied to the National Drug Policy Discretionary Fund for funding for further research into the toxicity of BZP. Therefore I find his comments somewhat surprising, to say the least," Jim Anderton said today.

"The Ministerial Committee on Drug policy met last night to decide applications to the fund and Dr Gee’s application was agreed. However, given his reported comments I have asked the Ministry of Health to contact Dr Gee to seek confirmation from him that he does indeed wish to do the research for which he has applied.

"The Ministerial committee decided to agree to his funding application because it felt that it would build on existing work and add to the evidence base on BZP that we are working towards. That evidence base is being built up from work already completed and from current ongoing research.

"The upshot is that New Zealand will have the most significant body of research in the world on BZP based party pills, evidence which the international community can and will draw on.

"Recreational drug misuse is a global problem with every country having to grapple with new and emerging substances and we rely on work done everywhere to back policy direction.

"I would personally ban party pills tomorrow if it were up to me as I don’t think our youth need these sort of substances in order to 'have fun', but this government is committed to an evidence based drug policy, based on the advice of experts and not on the gut feelings of politicians, or industry hype.

"To get this evidence, the Labour-Progressive government has put its money where its mouth is, money that I secured as Progressive Leader, so I am hardly “sitting on my hands as evidence mounts” as one silly National Party MP would have people believe. Rather, I am secure in the knowledge that when the experts reassess party pills at the end of the year they will have a substantial evidence base on which to make their recommendations, ones that I will not hesitate to act upon,” Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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