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Government Still in a Muddle Over Legal Highs

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
28 April 2014

Government Still in a Muddle Over Legal Highs

The Government has done a U-turn on legal highs but still doesn’t understand, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“The Government and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne have said time and again bans don’t work but they will now impose a ban.

“Apparently this a temporary ban till products can be tested and proved they are ‘low risk’ as specified in the Psychoactive Substances Act passed last year.

“Sadly, the Government is dancing around on a pinhead and the low-risk requirement will come back to haunt them,” says Mr Peters.

“Low risk means there is a risk these drugs are harmful. It would be more appropriate to say, first, ‘prove your product is safe’.

“Two clear requirements must be present in the law on recreational synthetic drugs – prove the product is safe before it can be sold and notify authorities if there are changes to its composition.”

Mr Peters says it is important to specify that legal highs cannot be changed without notification and a new regime of testing, trials and the approval process to prove they are safe.

“Every time a product is made it must be ticked off under the approvals process, there is no place for minor adjustments to its composition.”

Mr Peters says the two clear requirements are effectively a ban under a regulated process.

“All pharmaceutical drugs are tested and must be approved, these are no different. Users should be reassured that synthetic drugs are safe before they are put on shop shelves,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS

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