MP for Northland (New Zealand) Mike Sabin has today welcomed an announcement from Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne on new legislation that will require distributors and producers of party pills and other legal highs to prove they are safe before they can sell them.
“This is an approach I have long supported following a number of years as a police detective, drug educator and policy advisor looking at the emergence and growing prevalence of synthetic party pills throughout New Zealand and the world,” Mr Sabin said. “Manufacturers and suppliers of these products have played a constant game of cat and mouse with authorities, able to change chemical compounds of synthetic drugs to beat legislation”, says Mr Sabin.
Mr Dunne’s legislation will reverse the onus of proof on manufacturers and suppliers; if a product cannot be proved safe then it cannot be sold. Companies will need to apply to a newly established regulator with scientific data similar to that which is required for the assessment of new medicines.
“This means they will now have to do what any manufacturer of any product that is consumed or ingested already has to do – make sure it is safe,” Mr Sabin said.
The legislation will be introduced to Parliament later this year and be in force by around the middle of next year.In the meantime, the Temporary Class Drug Notices will be rolled over as required so there is no window of opportunity for any banned substances to come back on the market before the permanent law comes.
“I applaud this change and believe it will make an enormous difference both in terms of consumer safety and ensuring manufacturers and suppliers cannot use loopholes to avoid their responsibilities,” Mr Sabin said.