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Call to regulate synthetic drugs to stop 'head in the sand' approach

By aemetha, Aug 2, 2017 | | |
  1. aemetha
    1501636347715.jpg Image: Stuff Risk of death from synthetic drug use can be significantly reduced if the system gets it right, the head of a Maori public health provider says.

    As of August 1 this year, 10 people are believed to have died as a result of using illegal synthetic drugs within the space of one month. And without a law reform these "tragic" numbers may become worse, Hapai Te Hauora Tapui chief executive Lance Norman said.

    Norman said the scale of the problem suggested it was time to regulate synthetic drugs. "Anything not regulated, by default is going to have issues because there are no rules or regulations on what a product can include." The currently illegal drug contained "synthesised chemicals" and other unknown ingredients, he said. Once regulated, the substances could be sold under guidelines on who could buy and sell the product and what would be included in it, he said.

    But Norman said the first step was to get the terminology right. The "concoction" currently being sold illegally was not cannabis, he said. "It is unhelpful to relate these drugs in any way to cannabis, which is non-toxic and adverse physiological reactions are rare." Norman said the framework of understanding the issue needed to change as well. At present those struggling with drug addiction found themselves with a conviction as opposed to a "health and social response".

    Norman said the most urgent need was to prevent any further deaths from these "potent" drugs. And this meant creating awareness in the community. "They [police] need to let us know what these drugs looks like, where they [police] think these were purchased." It was important for agencies such as Hapai Te Hauora Tapui to know more the nature of the product out in the market so could alert the community, he said.

    Norman said a "head in the sand" approach would not work because those already addicted needed to avoid the potentially deadly substances. Warnings such as "don't do drugs" were not enough to deter users, he said.

    Norman said the recent deaths from synthetic drugs highlighted a "desperate need" for a "multi-agency early warning system". "This would monitor emerging drug trends and communicate any concerns around the country at the earliest point possible." "This is an action under the National Drug Policy and we need to prioritise this."

    Original Source

    Written by: MAHVASH ALI, Aug 2, 2017, Call to regulate synthetic drugs to stop 'head in the sand' approach, Stuff


  1. This Is Science
    Wonderful how it's always attacked head on with aggression rather than education and harm reduction.
    1. TheBigBadWolf
      what other approach can there be towards unregulated rugs that do harm other than controlling the quality of more harmless drugs and allow their use and ownership?
      and yes. These substances need to be called what they are, not like *synthetic pot* or whatever B is around in the press.
      without control there is no drug safety. period. the market is not able to self-regulate. too many lives involved to lose.
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