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25 November 2014–One step closer to shutting down the synthetic drug trade

Minister for Justice

One step closer to shutting down the synthetic drug trade

25 November 2014

Last night the House of Representatives passed the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Psychoactive Substances and Other Measures) Bill 2014.

This legislation will allow law enforcement agencies to charge people who import synthetic drugs whose chemical structures have been deliberately changed so they can be legally imported into our country.

Synthetic drugs are often marketed as legal alternatives to illicit drugs, implying they are somehow safe and credible.

Yet, tragically, we have learned too many times through death or injury to people, especially our young people that this is not the case. These drugs are extremely dangerous.

Existing criminal laws ban illicit drugs based on their chemical structure. However, the rate at which new versions of synthetic drugs appear makes it difficult for our laws to keep up.

These legislative changes put us ahead of the criminals. Rather than law enforcement agencies having to prove that the particular structure of a psychoactive substance is illegal, all psychoactive substances will be prohibited from importation unless the importer can prove they have a legitimate use.

The new ban will help stop synthetic drugs from being presented as ‘legal’. Governments and law enforcement agencies will no longer be trying to play catch up every time a ‘new’ synthetic drug is produced.

The ban will add to existing illicit drug offences, which will continue to be the primary way we deal with illicit drugs and the people who try to import them.

The Bill is now subject to debate in the Senate.