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New regulations for synthetic drugs announced today will help move New Zealand’s obsolete drug law into the 21st century the New Zealand Drug Foundation said.

“Unknown and untested new synthetic substances have been hitting the shelves for a decade in New Zealand. Consumers have simply never known whether these drugs are safe or not.

“It makes sense that the industry should have to jump through hoops to prove its products are safe before they go on sale,” said New Zealand Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell.

Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne announced that approval for party pills will be similar to that of other medicines.

“The new regulations, which place the burden on the industry to prove its products are low risk, are long overdue and are very welcome. The status quo has been an absolute joke,” said Ross Bell.

“We have seen time and time again that when one substance gets banned another similar substance or substances pops up in its place.

“Mr Dunne has helped slay the party pill hydra.”

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) found that one new synthetic drug was coming to market every week in Europe.

Mr Bell said that shifting the onus and cost of proof onto the synthetic drug industry meant the process would be slowed down and the government no longer left to play catch up.

The announcement comes out of a review of the Misuse of Drugs Act by the Law Commission. The Drug Foundation looks forward to the Government progressing other key parts of that review.

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