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Amnesty period needed for ‘legal high’ possession

Amnesty period needed for ‘legal high’ possession

Police should hold off prosecuting people for possession of psychoactive products for the next six months, the New Zealand Drug Foundation urged today.

Last night Parliament voted to amend the Psychoactive Substances Act to remove all products from sale from Thursday.

“We’re calling on the Police to press pause on their enforcement of possession of psychoactive products for the next six months,” said Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell.

“One of the biggest barriers for people asking for help for themselves or others and getting into treatment is the fear of getting busted.

“A period where that barrier of fear is removed will allow people who need help to seek it.

“This would be a pragmatic and compassionate move which will assist people to access help services.”

Mr Bell said there is precedent for not prosecuting people for possession offences immediately after a product ban.

“When BZP was reclassified as a Class C drug in 2008, there was a six month grace period where police did not chase people for possession,” Mr Bell said.

“This worked well to allow people the space and time to figure out where and how to get help.

“The Government could further aide people looking for help by running a promotion campaign for the Alcohol and Drug Helpline.

“For many people looking for help the Alcohol and Drug Helpline is the first point of call. The Helpline does good work to immediately help people in crisis.”

People can call the Alcohol and Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797

ENDS

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