11 Oct 2012

Party pill makers can afford $2m testing cost - foundation

12:15 pm on 11 October 2012

The Drug Foundation believes there is still too much money to be made in the party pills industry for new regulations to be truly effective.

The Government will introduce legislation this year that will include manufacturers having to pay up to $2 million in testing costs for each product they want to sell after August 2013.

Restrictions will be placed on who can buy and sell legal high products, and on advertising. Dairies will be stopped from selling the products, only those aged over 18 will get to buy them, and anyone in possession of an unapproved product will be fined $300.

Foundation executive director Ross Bell says it is good to see the Government bringing in a system that should encourage the manufacture of safer products.

But he says there is a lot of money to be made in the party pill industry and there are players prepared to spend the $2 million getting their products to market.

Ross Bell says before it was banned the BZP industry was estimated to be worth $25 million.

National Poisons Centre toxicologist Leo Schep, says the testing process will be rigorous and should eliminate the most harmful party pills.

Dr Schep says some drugs may still get through but the new regulations will minimise harm compared to the situation at present, where users of party pill are effectively guinea pigs.

Forestry industry supports crackdown

The forestry sector, which has a high rate of accidents and fatalities, backs the proposals.

Forest Industry Contractors' Association chief executive John Stulen says although the industry has made huge strides in reducing drug use, it's a continuing battle.

Mr Stulen says drug and alcohol testing could be stepped up if any synthetic drugs are approved for sale.