Associate Health Minister Hon Todd McClay has launched an 0800 Psychoactive Substance Hotline on 0800 789 652
The hotline is designed to help the public report concerns about psychoactive substances in their community.
Thursday, 31 October, 2013
Associate Health Minister Hon Todd McClay has launched an 0800 Psychoactive Substance Hotline to help the public report concerns about psychoactive substances in their community. The Psychoactive Substance Hotline number is 0800 789 652
Mr McClay said that community reporting had already led to legal high shops being closed and individuals being prosecuted where they had contravened the Psychoactive Substances Act.
“I recently received an email from a member of the public who raised concerns about a retailer in Hawera. This information was passed on to the Regulator who quickly suspended the retail licence taking legal highs off the shelf. A subsequent investigation has led to this retail licence being cancelled. Without the assistance of this concerned member of the public that retailer might well have continued to break the law”.
“This Hotline means that members of the public can now report their concerns about individuals, retail outlets and psychoactive substances knowing that the Ministry of Health and Police will act on reports quickly,” says Mr McClay.
Since the Act took effect on 18 July 2013 there has been a significant reduction in the range, availability and access to these so-called ‘legal highs’. The number of retail outlets selling psychoactive products has dropped by 95% from an estimated three to four thousand to less than 170 interim licensed premises nationwide. Dairies, convenience and grocery stores, service stations, and liquor outlets are specifically banned from selling psychoactive substances.
“From an estimated 200 plus products on the market prior to legislation the number available under temporary licences has reduced by over 75%. There are now tough restrictions on the labelling and packaging of these products. Advertising is banned and products are restricted to people 18 years and over”.
“To ensure public confidence and as a further safeguard I instructed the Authority to have approved interim products tested by ESR to validate their active ingredients”, says Mr McClay.
Mr McClay said that there is also further tangible evidence that the Act is working as intended.
DHBs have reported fewer presentations in their Emergency Departments of health issues related to these products. Calls to the National Poisons Centre have reduced. There were 63 calls in August, and only 34 in September – just under half the number.
“The addition of the 0800 Hotline will add another means for enforcement agencies and the wider community to effectively control these products. I would ask anyone with information about these drugs or concerns about those selling them to call the Hotline”, says Mr McClay.