Government’s synthetic drug crackdown

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FIFTY-four synthetic psychoactive substances and classes of substances have been banned in Victoria since the State Government began its crackdown on synthetic drugs in 2011, according to Police Minister Kim Wells.

Mr Wells said these bans included 29 synthetic cannabinoids and classes of synthetic cannabinoids.

“The bans under Victoria’s drugs laws relate to specific chemicals,” Mr Wells said.

“Applying the bans to the chemicals ensures that any synthetic cannabis product containing a banned chemical, regardless of the product’s name or packaging, is prohibited under Victoria’s drug laws.”

Despite these bans, a former long-term user said a number of synthetic drugs were “readily available” over-the-counter at some shops and online.

“It should be completely off the shelves; it shouldn’t be available to anyone,” she said.

Cannaboids are often labelled as “potpourri” and carry the warning “not for human consumption”.

Mr Wells said the state supports the Federal Government’s recently announced moves to strengthen laws around sales and marketing of the substances, ensuring products had a valid use.

“In conjunction with the strong action the Napthine Government has already taken, the Federal Government recently announced legislation where all psychoactive substances, such as synthetic drugs, will be prohibited unless importers can prove they have a legitimate use,” Mr Wells said

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said this meant rather than law enforcement having to prove a synthetic drug was illegal, the burden would be placed on the person importing it to prove that it was legal and had a legitimate use.

“There’s nothing synthetic about the damage these drugs cause,” Mr Keenan

“They are not harmless, they are not safe, they have deadly consequences.”

The legislation is currently before the Commonwealth House of Representatives.