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Law Change Means Action On New Designer Drugs

MEDIA RELEASE

Rt Hon Wyatt Creech
Minister of Health
5 October 1999

LAW CHANGE MEANS QUICK ACTION ON NEW DESIGNER DRUGS

New designer drugs will be classified and banned quickly thanks to a law change introduced into Parliament today.

"We're proposing amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act so we can move as fast as possible to outlaw any new dangerous drugs," Health Minister Wyatt Creech said today.

"This culminates a lot of work on the issue of expeditious scheduling of drugs of abuse done this year.

"As part of the substantial work we are doing in our National Drug Policy, the Ministerial Committee on Drugs has identified a problem with new drugs.

"Currently if a new drug emerges it can only be classified as illegal through a law change," Mr Creech said. "That means the drug is available while the Bill goes through the Parliamentary process. It can take months before the drug is classified and prohibited.

"One example is "Fantasy" - a new recreational drug on the club scene that can cause vomiting, loss of consciousness, respiratory arrest and even death.

The law change will mean drug classifications will be made by regulation. There will be a 28 day period before the regulation comes into force. Parliament will debate the regulation at the end of the 28 days and if ratified it will come into effect.

The Misuse of Drugs Act amendment will also allow conditions to be set on doctors authorised to prescribe for drug dependence. This would mean more doctors would be approved to prescribe certain treatments.

ENDS


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