A temporary ban of legal highs

April 28th, 2014 at 12:15 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Government will ban all synthetic within two weeks until they can be proven to be low-risk, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has revealed.

The move comes as Labour plans to announce its own policy on psychoactive substances tomorrow, and follows increasing protest from local communities against legal highs.

Mr Dunne told the Herald this afternoon: “Last Tuesday, Cabinet agreed on a proposal from me to introduce legislation under urgency when Parliament resumes to remove the remaining 41 products from the shelves until such time as their low-level of risk can be proven.”

He said he would have made the announcement earlier but he did not want to encourage stock-piling of the drugs.

The emergency legislation will be introduced when Parliament resumed on May 6, and will be passed under urgency.

“I’m expecting it to be passed that particular week and to take effect pretty much immediately afterwards,” Mr Dunne said.

This meant there would be no psychoactive substances for sale in New Zealand for “some considerable amount of time”.

There are currently 150 outlets selling legal highs nationwide.

The Psychoactive Substances Act required synthetic drug manufacturers to prove their drugs were low-risk before they could be sold.

But a Ministry of Health testing regime and several other regulations were not yet in place.

In the interim, drugs which had temporary approval from an expert committee were permitted to be sold.

Forty-one products are on shelves at present, compared to around 300 before the bill was passed.

“I think that the reason we didn’t include those 41 products initially was that they hadn’t been identified as problematic,” Mr Dunne said.

There’s a degree of moral panic in all this. The number of outlets selling legal highs has gone from 3,000 to 150 and the number of products from 300 to 41. A total ban will not be effective in the medium term.

I’m glad the new regime isn’t being through out – it’s a regime that 120 out of 121 MPs voted for – no matter how much some now pretend they didn’t.

The issue seems to be around the temporary licenses and products remaining available on the temporary licenses for longer than expected as the full testing regime is not yet operational.

So the Government’s move is not entirely unreasonable – but it may become the thin end of the wedge towards total prohibition – which is a policy doomed to failure. I hope not.

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89 Responses to “A temporary ban of legal highs”

  1. Pete George (23,149 comments) says:

    Tim Watkin at Pundit writes Legal highs leave MPs dazed & confused

    Nicola Kean, a producer for The Nation, asked the Ministry of Health last week:

    “What’s the trend (if any) for people presenting at A+E for problems with psychoactive substances since the law was introduced?”

    A written reply on Thursday said:

    “While it is early days the Authority has received anecdotal reports demonstrating the number of severe presentations to emergency departments has reduced since the Act came in.

    The Authority monitors approved products received from the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM), and calls from the public to the National Poisons Centre on a regular basis.

    These reports also show a reduction in the number of severe issues being reported. Where severe adverse reactions are reported the Authority has the power to act and has already removed products from the market where reports to CARM identified they posed more than a low risk of harm”.

    So again the evidence is only anecdotal, but the official line was that if anything reports of severe harm caused by legal highs was DOWN since the law was introduced.

    Only it made for bad optics; the public didn’t like what it saw. The political risk to the government became too high. Hence the de facto ban via councils becomes a temporary ban via a government-mandated product recall.

    This suggests that harm has been actually reducing, the visible impact has just been concentrated around the far fewer retail outlets.

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  2. anonymouse (705 comments) says:

    The removal of the existing products from the market will certainly put a bomb under the development of new products that can comply with the new regs.
    The first products to market will have a government sanctioned market free of any competitors, ( until others can get through the same hoops).

    I suspect that currently the manufacturers have little incentive to fund development as they are meking so much from the existing products ( which have also had most of the competition removed)

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  3. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Why can’t these drugies just get off their faces on a harmless drug like booze ?

    That should avoid all those social problems and it is legal.

    What is wrong with these people !

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  4. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Actually kea, I find druggies hypocrites when they claim booze is man made but Marijuana is natural (God made) but have gone to synthethics. (man made)

    They not adding up to me .

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  5. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    Why can’t druggies just smoke pot?

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  6. Huevon (206 comments) says:

    Who cares?? Morons poisoning themselves, so what

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  7. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    wikiriwhis business, I agree entirely. In fact we built up a tolerance for booze due to its presence in natural foods.

    I think booze and pot are both bad ideas. I would allow both though. Many people would be better off smoking dope than drinking. I prefer drinking myself, but so what ? I feel no desire to impose my choice on others.

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  8. mikenmild (11,193 comments) says:

    We should all care, Huevon, because the legal regime for psychoactive substances has effects that are felt by all in terms of crime and the costs of substance abuse. We all have an interest, therefore, in a rational regime to regulate these substances. The present approach is not rational.

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  9. David Garrett (6,658 comments) says:

    Huevon: Clearly you dont have children..I have one entering teenage years and one a few years behind…Given our family’s unfortunate genetic heritage I am worried as hell about this shit…but I am damned if I know the answer…I am certainly well aware that prohibition of cannabis has worked very well (NB: sarcasm alert for the slower reader..)

    Does anyone know how difficult this synthetic crap is to make? Does one need sophisticated lab equipment or can you buy what’s needed at Mitre 10?

    As for this “natural” red herring, firstly the synthetic dope is just that, synthetic; secondly all sorts of poisons are “natural”…hemlock, deadly nightshade; tutu; ergot; fly agraric to name but a few

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  10. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    milky, a bigger cost is poor diet and exercise. It is the single biggest cause of perventable harm today. Using your logic the State should FORCE people to exercise and eat State approved foods. A regime to regulate as you put it.

    What degree of force are you comfortable with in order to impose your preferences on others?

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  11. jawnbc (54 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t a legal, regulated market for cannaboid products address most of this? People are buying and consuming the legal highs to avoid criminal sanction for smoking/eating/vaping weed for the most part. Give that a go for 5-10 years and then revisit it.

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  12. toad (3,671 comments) says:

    So now users will be able to get their formerly legal drugs only through the local meth dealer. And guess what he or she will sell them when stockpiles of the formerly legal highs run low.

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  13. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    DG, you should worry. Experienced drug users have told me that synthetic cannabis is terrible stuff. It really messes you up. One young chap is now campaigning against the stuff as a result of his experiences. It has at least put him off drugs all together.

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  14. redeye (631 comments) says:

    I amazed that New Zealanders think that making something illegal will fix a problem.

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  15. bringbackdemocracy (412 comments) says:

    Good to see National and Labour catching up with the Conservatives on this issue.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1404/S00077/april-5-2014conservatives-say-legal-highs-a-low-point.htm

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  16. Pete George (23,149 comments) says:

    toad – Russel and Metiria seem to have been very quiet on this. What’s the Green position on this effective interim ban?

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  17. tas (596 comments) says:

    Given the timing, I think it’s a political move intended to outsmart Labour. Legal highs haven’t done a great job so National is killing off the issue. They don’t want drugs to be an election issue.

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  18. Huevon (206 comments) says:

    ok, a bit harsh of me….

    My thoughts: we should get the police to round up the dealers, put a bullet in one or two of them to put the shits up the others and then publicly humiliate anyone dumb enough to buy and use this junk. End of story. But, alas, “human rights” blah blah blah.

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  19. David Garrett (6,658 comments) says:

    Crikey….for the first time ever I tried to give TOAD an uptick…my mouse finger just wouldnt do it…

    Kea: I also have heard terrible tales about this shit…young guys having psychotic episodes after one time using it, and being hopitalized for a month…worse than the shock/horror stories we all got told about LSD back in the day..

    But what the hell is the answer? Cannabis is illegal, and I am told it is available at every high school in the country…

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  20. Longknives (4,624 comments) says:

    “worse than the shock/horror stories we all got told about LSD back in the day..”

    Showing your age David!
    Surely it wasn’t all bad? Goo Goo G’joob….

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  21. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    DG, Better minds than mine have looked for an answer. Drugs are a fact of life and people do them even in countries with the toughest drug laws.

    We should adopt policy that reduces both the risk and the consequence of harm. We need to put aside ideological purity and use a pragmatic approach. That would be a start.

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  22. Rex Widerstrom (5,307 comments) says:

    it’s a regime that 120 out of 121 MPs voted for

    Was it a conscience vote? If not, this another thing we have MMP to thank for… our “representatives” not even having to bother to cast their vote themselves by going to the House and walking into a lobby. That at least reminds you that you need to own your decision. Having it cast for you while you’re off someplace else just encourages dereliction of duty in terms of studying and understanding the effect of your vote. (And yes I know it was rare for MPs to cross the floor before MMP).

    jawnbc suggests:

    Wouldn’t a legal, regulated market for cannaboid products address most of this?

    Logic would suggest so. Now all we need to do is convince the son of a Cabinet Minister to start pushing the stuff, and Bob’s your uncle (or rather, Peter’s your daddy).

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  23. twofish (79 comments) says:

    Amongst all this does anyone have any idea how many people may be “indisposed” by a total ban?
    Easter photographs showed queues outside legal high shops, which begs the question: can those effected get their shit together to stock-pile for a ban?

    Bottom line: Labour talks about it, National is doing it.

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  24. David Garrett (6,658 comments) says:

    Kea: ” a policy that reduces both the risk and the consequences of harm…” sounds like some bland speech from a backbencher from either major party….and they would say that is what they passed (it would almost certainly have been a conscience vote Rex) a few months ago or whaterver it was…and look how that’s worked out?

    Where is the bashful Toad? I also would like to know the Green position on the current mess, and what should be done to fix it…

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  25. Unity (366 comments) says:

    It should be obvious to a blind man that synthetic ‘legal’(?) highs are very bad for anyone. They should be banned outright and I do not believe Peter Dunne when he says he was about to ban them in the interim. He was forced to do so by public opinion and the public needs to be congratulated. It just shows what can be done when the Government is shamed/embarrassed by public displays. If only people would get out into the streets about the apartheid is overtaking us all.

    However, Peter Dunne has let us all down once again by giving them 2 weeks. He said he hadn’t want to give prior notice because people would stockpile. Well, as he’s had to bring the notice forward, why didn’t he just ban them immediately instead of giving them 2 weeks to stockpile?!! Is the National Party receiving funding from the people who manufacture these drugs? Otherwise, why the foot dragging?

    So-called legal highs should never be available legally. So it might drive them underground but if you use that logic then you should legalise all drugs because they have been driven underground!!??

    As for legalising cannabis because it is supposedly much less harmful than synthetic cannabis, what a load of codswallop. It has been clinically proven that if people take cannabis before their brains are fully developed (they don’t mature until their early 20′s) then their brains will be permanently damaged. Ever wondered why the upsurge in teen suicides and psychotic illnesses? You can bet that cannabis is in the mix somewhere. Pre-teens even take it and the danger to their brains at this age is enormous. Only mature people can get away with smoking cannabis.

    Binge drinking at a young age can also cause brain problems, and does, but not nearly as much as cannabis. The Government needs to ban these ‘high’s outright. Why on earth do our children even need such things? Can’t they have a good time without ‘highs’ or binge drinking? There is something wrong here with our young people if this is the case.

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  26. OTGO (521 comments) says:

    DG the best way you can illustrate to your children that overuse of drugs is harmful is by not being the biggest piss head or drug addict in your kids life. Set a good example yourself and point out the bad examples at every opportunity and your kids will be OK.
    Seems to have worked for me (so far anyway). OK, there was that one time…

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  27. fernglas (114 comments) says:

    If I was to bring to market a drug to help, say, schizophrenia, the cost of all the testing and trials would be borne by me, and would be punitive. But if I want to sell a drug with psychoactive properties designed for recreational as opposed to therapeutic purposes, the Government puts a testing regime in place for me? Very odd.

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  28. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    DG, never been called “bland” before.

    I probably should have gone into more detail. But I will stick with Bland for now. Makes a change from Troll ;)

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  29. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Is anyone brave enough to answer this simple question ? :

    What degree of force are you comfortable with in order to impose your preferences on others?

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  30. Unity (366 comments) says:

    OTGO, the thing you have to watch the most is who their friends are. Many decent kids with good parents have been lead astray by their ‘friends’. Peer pressure is a mighty thing so keep a close eye on their friends then I’m sure they will come through unscathed.

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  31. David Garrett (6,658 comments) says:

    OTGO: That sounds like good commensense advice…there is certainly not problem with role modeling illegal drugs use chez Garrett…and hearing my daughter tell her mother “something’s wrong with Daddy” when Daddy was pissed as a newt means I never drink when they are around…I tried knocking it off completely and although it wasnt hard to do, I found being sober all the time a bit boring…they dont call it a “social lubricant” for nothing…

    Unity: Other friends with kids have said exactly the same thing…if you have a bad feeling about Ursula or Xavier they say, you are probably right…

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  32. georgebolwing (652 comments) says:

    To summarise the points I made in the General Debate thread on this topic:

    a) the state has no legitimate role in proscribing self-harm: adults should be free to do whatever they like, provided they do not harm others;

    b) if, despite this, reducing self-harm is the goal, then long experience suggests that “prohibition” (ie, making supply and use of something that is demonstrably pleasureable a criminal offence) is very unlikely to be effective and, importantly, is likely to lead to many unintended side-effects.

    I would suggest that if freedom of action is not going to be supported, then a better public policy goal would be to make self-harm safe, legal and rare.

    In the context of “highs”, this would involve:

    a) regulation to ensure that consumers are consuming what they paid for;

    b) Section 6 of the Misuse of Drugs Act not apply;

    c) a program of education, ensuring informed consent.

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  33. toad (3,671 comments) says:

    @fernglas 2:06 pm

    No, the cost of the testing is proposed under the current legislation to be borne by those proposing to market recreational psychoactive drugs, not by the taxpayer.

    The Government’s role is meant to be setting the safety standards that these drugs must pass to be approved to go to the market.

    The problem is that Government hasn’t yet done this, so no recreational drugs have been safety tested. Hence there is some nasty shit on the market that is causing all the uproar and would almost certainly fail when tested, as well as some relatively harmless drugs that would almost certainly meet any reasonable safety standards.

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  34. georgebolwing (652 comments) says:

    Kea, to answer your question of 2.12 pm:

    Other than the force of my arguments, none!

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  35. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    It should be obvious to a blind man that synthetic ‘legal’(?) highs are very bad for anyone. They should be banned outright…

    If it’s obvious then there is no need for a ban. People shouldn’t be protected from their own stupidity.

    What degree of force are you comfortable with in order to impose your preferences on others?

    It is my opinion that provided somebody’s actions do not harm anyone else then that person should be free to do what they want, provided they accept the consequences of their actions. My preferences should have no bearing on this. This includes free speech – your right to free speech trumps my right not to be offended.

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  36. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    georgebolwing , yeah we agree. The trouble is ALL law is backed by force. How much ? Well that depends on the circumstances. “Reasonable Force” simply means; As much force as it takes, but no more.

    If someone is enjoying a smoke on a park bench and a Cop tells them to put it out, he refuses, then the Cop will attempt to arrest them. If they resist they may be tasered or even shot if they put up enough of a fight. The cover story will be they were shot for assaulting Police. But the reality is they were shot for smoking dope on a park bench.

    All law is ultimately backed by deadly force. A self evident reality that should always be considered against demands for more laws.

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  37. Scott Chris (5,946 comments) says:

    Hence there is some nasty shit on the market that is causing all the uproar

    Yeah, brand name Hysteria.

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  38. Pete George (23,149 comments) says:

    A Green response from @KevinHague

    Interim prohibition will fuel black market, increase harm, make treatment harder and may undermine full regime. #119-1

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  39. georgebolwing (652 comments) says:

    I was placing most emphasis on the bit about imposing my preferences on others. This can never be justified: “liberty does not consist in making others do what you think right”.

    There should be laws, and those laws should be enforced (otherwise they will not be effective), but their scope should be restricted to only those essential things that cannot be achieved by people freely operating to their mutual advantage.

    It is never easy to precisely define the boundries, but some things are easy: doing harm to others without their consent (murder, rape, robbery,etc) should always be outlawed and consenting adults should be pretty much able to do whatever they like to themselves and their equally willing partners in private.

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  40. SHG (367 comments) says:

    The sky is falling, won’t someone think of the children, ritual satanic abuse.

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  41. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    SHG, only the force of the armed State can save us now ! Just as it saved so many in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany Cambodia and China. Where would we be without self righteous people with guns telling us what to think and do ?

    It would be chaos.

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  42. Psycho Milt (2,337 comments) says:

    Interim prohibition will fuel black market, increase harm, make treatment harder and may undermine full regime.

    What does it say about the major parties when you have to turn to the Greens to find someone who isn’t spouting self-serving, moral-panic bullshit?

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  43. Psycho Milt (2,337 comments) says:

    It should be obvious to a blind man that synthetic ‘legal’(?) highs are very bad for anyone.

    It should be obvious to a blind man that alcohol and tobacco are very bad for anyone. So the fuck what?

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  44. Unity (366 comments) says:

    So you think we should legalise everything then, Psycho Milt (an appropriate nomdeplume?). Given the rationale of some posting here that sounds like what they are advocating. Legalise cocaine and all those other ‘harmful’(?) substances!! Let them ruin their own lives if they want to. Too bad for the mums who are desperately worried about their teenage children who don’t have the common sense to make rational decisions in all too many cases.

    Young people should NOT be taking any mind alterating substances unless they want to permanently damage/fry their brains. Allowing such things to be legal is criminal. Yes, they will be driven underground but they will be that much harder to obtain and more expensive – hopefully out of the price range of young people before they even decide to ‘try’.

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  45. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    The only thing keeping a needle out of Unity’s arm is the armed State.

    The rest of us manage the same result by choice.

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  46. Psycho Milt (2,337 comments) says:

    Young people should NOT be taking any mind alterating substances unless they want to permanently damage/fry their brains.

    Western civilisation was built by people who spent much of their lives (and took a great deal of pleasure in) damaging their brains with the potent neurotoxin alcohol. It’s a pretty good civilisation. If you want to see a civilisation built by abstainers, visit Saudi Arabia – they put a lot of effort into ‘protecting’ their young people.

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  47. RightNow (6,780 comments) says:

    “Young people should NOT be taking any mind alterating substances …”

    How young? I think once they’re old enough to be tried as an adult is about the right time to let them decide for themselves what they indulge in.

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  48. Unity (366 comments) says:

    Kea, young people once they have ‘tried’ these substances (even once), don’t have a choice. They are hooked – together with the line and sinker, and it’s downhill all the way, causing their families endless grief, not to mention ruining their own lives seemingly beyond repair (or with great difficulty and enormous support). I take it you don’t have children!!

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  49. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Unity, what utter crap. Most kids dabble in drugs and soon grow out of it none the worse for wear.

    I am opposed to drugs, I think they are a very bad idea and I hope everyones kids stay away from them. However ideolistic laws are proven not to work and I do not want my view imposed on others at gun point. That is where we differ.

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  50. KiwiGreg (3,211 comments) says:

    Jesus I’ve wandered into some alternate reality where Psycho Milt is the most rational person in a thread.

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  51. SHG (367 comments) says:

    Good read: “Out of It: A Cultural History of Intoxication”

    http://www.amazon.com/Out-It-Cultural-History-Intoxication/dp/1400049768

    Core thesis: “Intoxication is a universal human theme. There are no recorded instances of fully formed societies anywhere in history that have lived without the use of psychoactive substances.”

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  52. georgebolwing (652 comments) says:

    Unity: “young people once they have ‘tried’ these substances (even once), don’t have a choice. They are hooked”. That is getting into urban myth territory.

    There are many, many, many examples of people experimenting with substances and not becoming dependent on them.

    And dependency is often a matter of choice: again, lots of people break their addictions. It might be hard and unpleasent, but it is very possible.

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  53. UglyTruth (4,550 comments) says:

    The trouble is ALL law is backed by force.

    5. In the beginnings of the structure of society, they were subjected to brutal and blind force; afterwards – to Law, which is the same force, only disguised. I draw the conclusion that by the law of nature, right lies in force.

    http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/przion2.htm#PROTOCOL%20No.%201

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  54. Jack5 (4,780 comments) says:

    Could Peter Dunne’s apparent about-face on early limits on synthetic drugs be the result of some secret deal to exempt possums from being test animals for the narco companies?

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  55. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    So you think we should legalise everything then… Legalise cocaine and all those other ‘harmful’(?) substances!!

    Actually, yes. If posession and supply of drugs was not illegal then it wouldn’t be expensive. There would be way less profit to be made, and it wouldn’t be worth the time of gangsters to supply it. The crime rate would plummet, and shitheads wouldn’t be making money out of other people’s misery. Plus addicts wouldn’t be worried about getting arrested when they seek help.

    Let them ruin their own lives if they want to. Too bad for the mums who are desperately worried about their teenage children who don’t have the common sense to make rational decisions in all too many cases.

    Most teenagers are pretty sensible. They aren’t stupid enough to waste their lives by taking addictive drugs. And those who are don’t give a shit whether it’s legal or not.

    Young people should NOT be taking any mind alterating substances unless they want to permanently damage/fry their brains.

    No argument there.

    Allowing such things to be legal is criminal.

    So should bad parenting.

    Yes, they will be driven underground but they will be that much harder to obtain and more expensive – hopefully out of the price range of young people before they even decide to ‘try’.

    Kids get money from many places. If a kid is keen to get drugs then he or she won’t think twice about stealing from his parents. Some kids work, although most who work won’t waste their hard earned cash on drugs. No matter how expensive a drug is some kids are still going to have the means to buy it.

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  56. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    Ecstasy should be compulsory for people when they turn 18 so they know they have an alternative to alcohol. It would lower the crime rate and save lives.

    Sex would also work, but we cannot guarantee partners …

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  57. Jack5 (4,780 comments) says:

    Prohibition doesn’t work?

    Look at Singapore.

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  58. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    Hanging people for posession of drugs is a bit extreme don’t you think?

    Look at the USA for a good example of prohibition not working.
    Look at Holland, Portugal, and many other countries for examples of decriminalisation working.

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  59. Unity (366 comments) says:

    Good grief, there are some crazy ideas on this site. Perhaps all of those who think ‘legal highs’ are okay should go and visit A+E regularly, speak to the Police and make an effort to find out the true factual situation. The people at the bottom of the cliff, picking/cleaning up the mess are totally and vehemently against them. That says it all for me, apart from own feelings on the matter after talking to parents who have ‘lost’ their children to these highly addictive drugs. A one time use is enough to cause intense addiction so there’s not even a chance to ‘experiment’.

    It’s quite beyond me though why kids can’t get through life without ‘highs’. What’s lacking in their lives that they need to resort to such things at a young age? It’s very sad really.

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  60. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    Unity, the people by the ambulance would also marginalise alcohol use and legislate the amount of sugar and fat content for products on sale.

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  61. Unity (366 comments) says:

    So Jack5, are you saying because it doesn’t work, we should legalise cocaine and all the other banned substances? What a lovely country we would be with all the crackheads and totally spaced out kids via legal highs cruising around the place. Of course it will go underground like everything but hopefully it will cost so much that young people won’t have the financial means to try it in the first place. Oh yes, older people could give them a taste because there are many low lifes out there who would think that was just so ‘cool’.

    Well, I’m sorry and totally unrepentant but I utterly oppose them and hope they are banned and I won’t change my mind. All those mothers out there protesting have seen the damage personally and they must be beside themselves to get out there and protest in public. If only we could get such turnouts to all the other problems this country faces instead of people burying their heads in the sand. Those of you who think they know better than the devastated mothers with firsthand experience, need your heads read. I support those mothers.

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  62. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    Unity, I would draw the line at addictive substances. Thus enabling only legal possession for personal use and only in private places.

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  63. Unity (366 comments) says:

    SPC, but they would say legal highs are much much worse. Of course because our stupid Government lowered the drinking age, as well as having far too many outlets making it easily obtainable, we now have a binge drinking culture amongst the young to add to the mix. The drinking/purchasing age needs to be 20 and the outlets much reduced as well as opening hours, plus earlier closing hours for Clubs. We also need education at an early age.

    However, to be off your head with drink you need to take an awful lot of it and it does cause brain damage in the young and people who regularly over-indulge. This is a problem. However with legal highs, once is enough for you to become addicted. The reason we need education regarding alcohol is because the biggest percentage of people who use it for recreational purposes are responsible drinkers. They shouldn’t be penalised by those who regularly over-indulge. There is no comparison between alcohol and legal highs. You don’t become addicted to alcohol after a few drinks but you do with legal highs and other mind altering drugs.

    I say it again, why do our young people need mind altering substances to have a good time. Why can’t they just enjoy a few drinks if they are over a certain age, and still be safe. It’s a sad indictment on our society if young people can’t have an enjoyable time without these dangerous props.

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  64. Unity (366 comments) says:

    Yes, but SPC, it doesn’t happen like that. There are many irresponsible people who think it is just so cool to give it to young people. The current legal highs are so dangerously addictive that they must be stamped on forever. The people who make them must be pursued relentlessly if they think they are going to provide them surreptitiously and receive heavy penalties. It’s the same with P and that is bad enough but not as bad as ‘legal highs’.

    I’ve taken enough of everyone’s time and made it plain where I stand. I won’t change my view. Have a good night.

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  65. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    Unity, if they had not outlawed ecstasy it would have been the dominant legal high party pill and it is not addictive (once they made it illegal the same people who provided it also supplied them with P, things went bad after Anderton poisoned the policy well).

    P is only called worse than the “legal highs” because this is the latest target.

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  66. gazzmaniac (2,319 comments) says:

    Oh for fuck’s sake.
    Alcohol consumption per head of population is decreasing. Yes some people binge drink, get over it. It was way worse in the 1960s and 1970s when all of today’s wowsers were youths. The six o’clock swill saw to that. Again, kids will find a way to get booze even if the drinking age was 30. Most kids have drinks and go to parties when they are 15 or 16 and always have, even when the drinking age was 20. OH MY GOD.

    Why do young people need mind altering substances to have a good time? Taking away the absurdity of that statement (which it is, most kids don’t need them), it is because they are kids and will try things. That’s what being a kid is all about – pushing the boundaries to learn about the world. If you wrap them up in cotton wool then they’ll never learn anything for themselves and they’ll end up expecting other people to make all their decisions for them.

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  67. Psycho Milt (2,337 comments) says:

    Of course because our stupid Government lowered the drinking age, as well as having far too many outlets making it easily obtainable, we now have a binge drinking culture amongst the young…

    Demonstrably false. We had a binge drinking culture when I was young and we have less of one since the drinking age was lowered (ie consumption by youth has fallen over the last ten years).

    However with legal highs, once is enough for you to become addicted.

    Also demonstrably false. If you want people to take your comments seriously, devote some thought to whether what you’re saying is actually true or just some bullshit you’ve heard.

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  68. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    The current legal highs are so dangerously addictive that they must be stamped on forever.

    Addictive ? Please provide evidence to support that claim. I think you got a bit ahead of yourself and made that up.

    Many people who try synthetic cannabis hate the experience and it puts them off. I am listening to people calling in and giving first hand accounts of that as I write.

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  69. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Good grief, there are some crazy ideas on this site. Perhaps all of those who think ‘legal highs’ are okay should go and visit A+E regularly, speak to the Police and make an effort to find out the true factual situation.

    No bloody way ! I don’t want to go to a vomit stinking A&E and get smacked over by a angry drunk.

    The Police will be too busy dealing with drunks to stand around chatting. I suggest YOU go to an A&E my friend and you learn some facts.

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  70. nasska (10,827 comments) says:

    ….”However with legal highs, once is enough for you to become addicted.”….

    The “legal highs” are chemical & synthetic. Their makeup changes often so it’s near impossible to confirm or deny the statement but common sense would indicate that it’s a load of unsubstantiated bollocks worthy of some tut tutting wowser. There’s no shortage of info that suggests that for the “normal” person becoming an addict is something you have to work at. IOW ‘one try & you’re gone’ is the type of crap parents use to rein in their kids just like pointing out that everyone mainlining bourbon started with a shandy.

    Let’s at least address the problem without the emotive hyperbole & with some understanding of the issues.

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  71. Changeiscoming (154 comments) says:

    Great to see the National party adopting Conservative Party policy. Expect more of this in the years ahead.

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  72. nasska (10,827 comments) says:

    Changeiscoming

    I hope you’re being sarcastic.

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  73. mikenmild (11,193 comments) says:

    ‘Let’s at least address the problem without the emotive hyperbole & with some understanding of the issues’
    This is Kiwiblog, nasska.

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  74. Pete George (23,149 comments) says:

    There’s some good posts on this today on other blogs.

    Public Address: Illegal Highs
    The Standard: Highs, illegal or otherwise
    Pundit: Legal highs leave MPs dazed & confused

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  75. nasska (10,827 comments) says:

    ….”This is Kiwiblog, nasska.”….

    A little slice of heaven where Godwhacks & Conservatives would like to rave & rant unopposed Mike.

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  76. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    Great to see the National party adopting Conservative Party policy. Expect more of this in the years ahead.

    Expect to see Labour and the Greens running the country soon after :(

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  77. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    I am listening to Pete Dung on the radio. He frantically reassured listeners that this is “not a ban”.

    I bet the organised criminal gangs are stocking up big time on a variety of drugs in preparation for prohibition driving demand through the roof. They will make a fortune out of this and it will expand their market base enormously as those who do not normally associate with criminal gangs will now be forced to, as they can not get their drugs from the corner store.

    Brilliant work do-gooders.

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  78. nasska (10,827 comments) says:

    ….”Brilliant work do-gooders.”….

    Crack open the bottle of single malt….go on…..you know you deserve it.

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  79. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    nasska, I am going to get a crate of piss and break out the guitar. Like civilised posh people do.

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  80. RossM (38 comments) says:

    Why not just keep on doing what we are doing – testing these untried and potentially lethal drugs on teenagers. No cute furry animals need be harmed.

    But what we should do that we haven’t been doing is this: every time a user of a “legal” high gets admitted to hospital with bad affects, take that brand off the approved list. Over time this will leave us with just the safe ones on sale.

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  81. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    As safe as ecstasy?

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  82. Pete George (23,149 comments) says:

    He frantically reassured listeners that this is “not a ban”.

    It isn’t a ban. It puts all synthetic drugs on a system of having to prove they are relatively harmless to be registered to be sold legally.

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  83. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    So any drug as harmless as ecstasy has every chance of being sold legally, but not ecstasy?

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  84. Kea (11,878 comments) says:

    He Pete George frantically reassured listeners that this is “not a ban”.

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  85. cha (3,826 comments) says:

    Remember kids, it isn’t a ban. It puts all synthetic drugs on a system of having to prove they are relatively harmless to be registered to be sold legally.

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  86. Psycho Milt (2,337 comments) says:

    It puts all synthetic drugs on a system of having to prove they are relatively harmless to be registered to be sold legally.

    This merely opens up further questions for the Minister. These drugs were, only a short time ago, deemed safe enough for use. Now, suddenly, they are deemed unsafe until proven otherwise. So, what was deeming them safe all about? Did he do that knowing there was significant risk they were unsafe? Did he deem them safe in complete ignorance of whether they actually were safe or not? If there was reason to deem them safe, what changed?

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  87. SPC (5,472 comments) says:

    Now they will place the drugs on the black market and if they make more money selling them there they won’t bother with spending the profit to meet the cost of official trials.

    The government must know this, but just want their own involvement to go away, so they can leave this market to the “criminals”.

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  88. Left Right and Centre (2,861 comments) says:

    So – what can be mulled over from this issue ?

    There’s the issue of harm. Addiction. Making laws lessening people’s choices. Protecting people (optional inverted commas – your choice).

    Moral ideology vs practical outcomes.

    I really don’t know – it’s interesting. There’s all manner of argumentative jagged jigsaw pieces in a complicated puzzle.

    It’s quite beyond me though why kids can’t get through life without ‘highs’. What’s lacking in their lives that they need to resort to such things at a young age? It’s very sad really.

    I know what you’re saying. Part of me is 100% with you there. Another part of me knows that it’s not that easy. Why would anyone want to do a lot of things that people do ? It’s human nature. Why do some people have really oversimplified black and white views on issues ? That’s life. That’s people. What can you do ?

    Eg (warning: filthy) Some people get turned on to the extreme by having someone else shit in their mouth. Fact. (I think I’d rather they told me they were addicted to legal highs). They want the happy chemical release. Or escapsim. Put yourself in their shoes. They have their reasons. Something might be legal or not but one thing is damn true – you can’t make what people would like to do or think illegal.

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  89. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    “But what we should do that we haven’t been doing is this: every time a user of a “legal” high gets admitted to hospital with bad affects, take that brand off the approved list. ”

    And this is exactly what has been happening. Most of the worst stuff has already been banned due to the existing provisions in the legislation.

    i.e. nothing, zero, no response from the Government (or Labour) was required, other than calm and rational communication of how the system is working, how the more dangerous products have already been removed from sale, and what the steps are for new products to be removed from sale so that everyone is aware of how the legislation works.

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