Last week a year 12 boy jumped to his death after taking a synthetic drug. The drug mimics LSD and made him “want to fly”. This is the not the first death from taking a synthetic drug. Last October, a man died after taking the synthetic drug “bath salts”.
Media reports about both these incidents
- “He wanted to fly”: father says son made a fatal mistake by Nick Ralston and Lisa Davies, SMH, 7 June 2013
- Naked and psychotic: legal cocaine substitute offers a deadly high by Rachel Olding, SMH, 3 November 2012
Response by the Government
An interim ban was made under section 109(1)(a)(ii) of the Australian Consumer Law (NSW) of 19 goods from 9 June 2013. See interim ban. This is an interesting approach by the Government to use a product safety ban under the Australian Consumer Laws to ban synthetic drugs. See the announcement by the Fair Trading, 9 June 2013. The Minister, Mr Roberts said:
“These synthetic drugs have caused significant harmful and in some instances fatal side effects, The NSW Government toughened regulation of these drugs in 2011 by prohibiting a number of identified synthetic cannabinoids from sale. They are now treated in the same manner as cannabis, heroin and cocaine.
New and different substances regularly appear on the drug market and it is challenging for governments to deal with this constantly changing environment, with it requiring action at both State and Federal levels – but we are determined to do all we can.
The time to act is now, any delay compromises community safety and that is why we have determined this interim ban be immediately put in place.”
Responses to this ban
- Banned drugs ‘channeled to black market’ by Rachel Olding, SMH, 11 June 2013
- White revolver, Ash Inferno: wide range of synthetic drugs banned by Lisa Davies, SMH, 9 June 2013
About synthetic drugs
- Synthetic cannabinoids – factsheet produced by NSW Health, 28 June 2011
- New and emerging drugs by Stephen Bright, Australian Drug Foundation, April 2013
- Synthetic cannabis: prevalence of use among offenders's perception of risk and negative side effects experienced by Sarah Macgregor and Jason Payne, AIC, Criminal Justice Bulletin Series 11, March 2013, Australian
Reforming the laws
- Law reform issues regarding synthetic drugs, Legal Affairs Committee, Report 1/55, May 2013, NSW Parliament
- Legal highs: what should we do about synthetic cannabis? By Monica Barratt and Stephen Bright, The Conversation, 15 November 2012
- Illicit Drug Data Report 2011-2012 – Australian Crime Commission, released May 2013, makes reference to synthetic cannabinoids
More information about drugs and the law