Australia bans synthetic drugs that mimic illegal drugs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 June, 2013, 6:26am

Australia imposed an interim ban on 19 synthetic drugs yesterday as part of a crackdown on psychoactive substances that mimic their illegal counterparts, such as cannabis and cocaine.

Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said the 19 products would be banned from sale and supply for up to 120 days under consumer laws, a measure that gives states and territories time to update their laws to ban them.

"Synthetic drugs are dangerous substances that can kill and should not be available for sale," Bradbury said.

Many synthetic drugs are already banned in parts of Australia, but Bradbury said the market moved quickly and suppliers had shown a willingness to change brand names and packaging to get around bans made under consumer laws.

The most populous state, New South Wales, temporarily banned synthetic drugs this month after a 17-year-old Sydney boy fell to his death after taking a synthetic LSD product that made him believe he could fly.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said a range of synthetic drugs were being sold in Australia, including via the internet. They mimicked the effects of cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine and were being marketed as legal alternatives.

He said the new legislation would be in line with that already in place in Ireland and due to be brought into force in New Zealand in August.