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One 4B Sentencing

4 September 2002

One 4B Sentencing

Two-hundred and fifty hours community service for a Timaru man convicted of charges relating to one 4B, serve as a warning to others thinking of promoting and selling chemicals for misuse, Ministry of Health spokesperson Geoff Owen said today.

James McNee was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court today after pleading guilty to two charges under the Food Act 1981 of selling food that was unsound or unfit for human consumption knowing that the sale could create a risk to human health.

As well as community service Mr McNee was ordered to forfeit all products that had been seized by the Ministry of Health during the investigation.

"The Ministry of Health supports the strong deterrent statements made by the judge in sentencing Mr McNee."

Mr Owen said in this situation the Ministry of Health had to respond to an emerging trend with regard to the sale of one 4B and had successfully used existing Food legislation to achieve an appropriate outcome."

"This case has set a precedent for the Ministry as it deals with emerging trends in sale of substances that may impact on public health. Faced with this situation again, the Ministry of Health would respond in a similar manner."

On 31 May, the Fantasy range of drugs, which includes 1,4 Butandiol, were classified as a Class B1 controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.

"This now makes it illegal for individuals to possess, produce, manufacture, sell, supply, import or export these dangerous substances other than pursuant to a licence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. The classification also gives the police greater scope to address individuals dealing in these substances."

The sentencing follows a Ministry of Health and Police investigation which began in January 2001, following reports of people becoming unconscious as a result of taking a product that contains 1,4 Butanediol or one 4B.

Mr Owen said 1,4 Butanediol is a chemical that can cause dangerously low respiratory rates, unconsciousness, vomiting, seizures and death.

"Like many substances of this type and design, there is a fine line between achieving the euphoric effect the drug taker is often seeking and having an overdose with potentially serious, even fatal consequences."

ENDS

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