Large rise in LSD-mimic drug interceptions

Dodgy drugs destined for Dunedin have been intercepted by New Zealand Customs, it has been revealed.

Yesterday Customs Minister Nicky Wagner warned of a sharp increase in seizures of potent LSD mimics and other analogue drugs on blotter tabs.

While just 11 tabs were intercepted in 2011, more than 16,700 tabs had been seized at the border over the past 18 months.

Figures released to the Otago Daily Times by the New Zealand Customs Service confirm the vast majority of interceptions were made at the International Mail Centre in Auckland.

However there had been two interceptions of 12 blotter tabs in Dunedin this year.

The only other centres to have recorded seizures of the blotter tabs this year had been in Auckland and Wellington.

''I'm very pleased at the huge effort Customs is making to stop these harmful blotter tabs from crossing the border,'' Ms Wagner said.

She warned of recent hospitalisations in Christchurch and deaths overseas, that ''show how easy it is to overdose on these drugs, which have high potency levels''.

Earlier this year four men had to be restrained at a Christchurch party after taking the drug, which has a street name of N-Bomb.

One of the men suffered kidney and cardiac complications and had been in a serious but stable condition in the cardiothoracic intensive care unit.

N-Bomb (25B-NBOMe or synthetic LSD) sells as a white powder in capsules. Recreational doses were measured in micrograms so ensuring a safe dose was extremely difficult.

There had been one recent death associated with an NBOMe drug in Australia and others elsewhere. The penalty under the Psychoactive Substances Act for importing LSD mimics, such as NBOMe, was a maximum of two years' jail.

Importing LSD has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.


Class A margarine

Unusually, Hype. O. Thermia, I thoroughly agree. I dont think lysergic acid warrants Class A. I do think methamphetamine is Class A, because it is the huge money maker for dealers. It was Jim Anderton, MP for Wigram, Associate health minister, 2005, who got P onto Class A, with life imprisonment as maximum penalty. I applaud that move. Marg was only available on GP prescription 50yrs ago, due to dairy protectionism.

Don't confuse classification with harm

Albert Square writes, "Life imprisonment indicates LSD is Class A, like 'P'." Harmfulness is a fact.. Claims that something is harmful must be tested and proven, not taken on board from "something my wife's cousin's hairdresser's boyfriend read on the internet". It is easy to classify and ban, and impose penalties based on such classification.

The sale of margarine used to be banned! During the period of carless days using one's car on an "odd" day was banned if one was only allowed it on "even" days. Life imprisonment indicates not that a substance or act is dangerous, it only tells us that it is the arbitrary penalty that some people in power at a particular time decided to impose. Generally it is true that a penalty of life imprisonment only applies to the most serious crimes, but it is a mistake to take that for granted as if it is true in every case. Some laws later seen to have been dreadfully silly, or unjust, have been imposed over the years.

Tripping gonzo journalist

Dale, perhaps they're worried we'll go like Hunter S Thompson, driving through the volcanic plateau in pith helmet and cigarette holder. I do suggest acid trippers take a reliable, sober driver. Life imprisonment indicates LSD is Class A, like 'P'.

Insanity in the laws

LSD is a substance that is biochemically safe, doesn't cause dependence of any kind, has no known long-term negative side-effects, and is medically useful for a variety of things.

These 'mimics' produce effects that are somewhat similar (however definitely not very similar), have serious potential for toxic effects - up to and including death, and have little to no research on them for long term effects.

Why exactly does LSD importation bring a potential life sentence, whereas these far more dangerous substances have a maximum penalty of two years?!

The psychoactive substances act is an act with its heart in the right place, but contains one major problem: section 9, (3)(a) states that "a controlled drug specified or described in Schedule 1, 2, or 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975" is specifically excluded from the psychoactive substances regulation.

The problem with this is that substances with years of research and known safety profiles are pushed aside in favour of experimental, unknown, dangerous substances.

Would NZ have had so many problems with synthetic cannabis if real cannabis were allowed?  How about problems with BZP if MDMA were allowed?  The same applies to these NBOMe substances and LSD.  Allow LSD (controlled and regulated) and you'll solve the NBOMe problem overnight.

Yes, cannabis, MDMA and even LSD do have some potential negative effects on society (and MDMA may even have some mild neurotoxicity associated with it when abused); but in weighing them against the vast unknowns and new dangers of untested research chemicals, it should be clear that the steps to reduce harm the most would be to allow (but strongly regulate) the use of substances known to have low harm and block those that don't have enough medical knowledge backing them up. 

It's time to stop treating drugs as a criminal issue and start treating them as a health issue.  NZ is a country where this could work, and work well. 


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