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Ephedrine, pseudoephedrine controlled drugs

15 October 2004 =

Ephedrine, pseudoephedrine controlled drugs from today

A government decision to classify ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as controlled drugs comes into force today, October 15.

"Pharmacy-only products containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine are used by the unscrupulous to manufacture methamphetamine and it is appropriate that we have more control over these substances," Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton told a public forum in Waitakere that he led on P, alcohol and other drugs.

"The controlled drug status will give Customs wider powers to investigate importation syndicates including the ability to conduct controlled deliveries as well as allowing for penalties of up to 8 years imprisonment for those caught importing the drugs without a licence," the Progressive leader said.

Police and Customs are already having success in stopping large amounts of these medicines which the unscrupulous are importing into the country. Just this week one of the country’s largest drug busts was made in Christchurch when 11kg of a medicine containing pseudoephedrine was seized

Now it will be even easier for them because the classification of these precursors as Class C controlled drugs means a licence is required for their import and export and the penalty for unlicensed importation increases to a maximum of eight years imprisonment. It will also allow controlled deliveries so that Customs and Police can better intercept these substances in mail or commercial cargo.

"The coalition government's intention is to limit the manufacture of methamphetamine by controlling the importation of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine without affecting their legitimate use as prescription and pharmacy-only medicines and to do this effectively we have taken the time to consult with the industy," the Progressive leader said.

To permit the industry time to adjust to the new requirements, a six-month transition period has been given before the “Controlled Drug” labels are required to appear.

To minimize costs, the industry has been granted permission to put new labels over existing stocks' but it is important that all New Zealanders who use medicines containing these substances know that what they are buying mustn't fall into the wrong hands because in the wrong hands they can be turned into a lethal weapon against our vulnerable young, the Progressive leader said.


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