Plain packaging should be extended to party pills and
synthetic cannabis to reduce the appeal of these drugs to
young people, a lobby group says.
New Zealand Drug Foundation wants new legislation which
regulates synthetic drugs to include stricter rules on
packaging in order to make the products "as unsexy as
The Psychoactive Substances Bill was tabled in Parliament
last month, and would require drug manufacturers to prove
their products were safe, at their own cost, before the drugs
could be sold.
The new bill set many restrictions such as a minimum purchase
age of 18 for approved psychoactive drugs, and a ban on
But New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell
wanted it to go further. He said that plain packaging should
be introduced as part of the legislation to prevent legal
battles with the industry in future.
"Because this is a world-first, our view is that we should
try to get as much right at the start as possible.
"With tobacco and alcohol, there's a big review every couple
of decades with the law, and there's always wailing and
gnashing of teeth in those areas.
"Let's try to get [plain packaging] built into the law now,
from day one, rather than pick a fight with the party pill
industry in five years' time."
Mr Bell said the same rationale for plain cigarette packets
could be applied to synthetic cannabis and party pills.
"We don't want to suddenly create this new market which is
really attractive. We're trying to make these products as
unsexy as possible."
Temporary bans on potentially harmful synthetic products
would lapse in August.
- Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald