Psychoactive substances

Psychoactive Substances Act Amendment

The Government has amended the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 to remove all interim-approved psychoactive products from the market until further testing confirms they present a low risk of harm to users.

No psychoactive substances will be returned to the market until they have gone through an approval process, which includes thorough testing to prove low risk of harm.

Before the Act came into force in July 2013, psychoactive substances were available for sale. Following the change in law, 47 products, from an estimated 200 products, were give interim approval under the Act.

Of those 47 products, a further 11 had their interim approval revoked. With the new amendment, all 36 remaining products have now had their approval revoked and have been removed from sale.

Most people will be able to stop taking these products without experiencing side effects. For those needing help to withdraw from these products, contact the Alcohol Drug Helpline (external link) on 0800 787 797, or after hours Healthline on 0800 611 116.

For your nearest alcohol and drug service, see alcohol and drug services under the hospitals section of the White Pages, or online Addictions Treatment Directory (external link) , www.addictionshelp.org.nz (external link)

Law change

The law immediately revokes the remaining interim approvals and requires recall of the 36 remaining products. 

Following the law change, the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority has issued recall notices to all product licence holders requiring them to recall all previously approved psychoactive substances from the market immediately.

The authority, police and public health enforcement officers are overseeing a full industry recall of these products.

It will no longer be legal to be in possession of a psychoactive product. Following the amendment, anyone with a psychoactive product will be in possession of an unapproved product.

If people have remaining products they can return these to the retailer. Standards for the disposal of psychoactive products including for the public and industry have been developed and are online at www.health.govt.nz/psychoactivesubstances (external link)

There are a range of resources and support services available to users of psychoactive products. Anyone seeking help is advised to contact the Alcohol Drug Helpline (external link) on 0800 787 797 or, after hours, Healthline on 0800 611 116.

For your nearest alcohol and drug service, see alcohol and drug under the hospitals section of the White Pages, or online go to Addictions Treatment Directory (external link) , www.addictionshelp.org.nz (external link) , which also lists support groups including for families.

Addiction

  • There are a range of addiction services for people who need help with alcohol and drug problems, including people who may be using psychoactive substances.
  • Most people will be able to stop taking these products without experiencing serious side effects. It is estimated that between 150-200 people may require a greater level of withdrawal assistance than usual.
  • The Ministry has updated the advice on its website for the general public about help with withdrawal from these products. It has also developed advice for treatment services and is producing information for police, general practitioners, ambulance services, public health units and the education sector.
  • The Ministry will be working with addiction services which will include weekly monitoring and advice regarding the issues for users in contact with addiction treatment services.
  • Where to get help: Confidential advice and support is available. Free services include:
    The Alcohol Drug Helpline (external link) on 0800 787 797, after hours Healthline on 0800 611 116. For your nearest alcohol and drug service, see alcohol and drug under the Hospitals section of the Whitepages, online go to Addictions Treatment Directory (external link) www.addictionshelp.org.nz (external link) which also lists support groups including for families.

    Drug Help website, www.drughelp.org.nz (external link) , for people who are concerned about how drugs are affecting their lives.

    Ministry of Health website – updated information at www.health.govt.nz/pshelp (external link)


More information