Victoria bans sale of synthetic drugs

Image: The Conversation

Image: The Conversation

The Victorian government has banned the sale and production of synthetic drugs and stepped up police powers to prosecute ice dealers.

Currently, the way to prevent synthetic drugs is to legally categorise each specific compound or class of compound as an illicit drug. However, as more drugs are introduced, manufacturers change the chemical formula to evade the ban.

The new law bans the production, sale and promotion of any substances that have a psychoactive effect, including synthetic cannabinoids and ecstasy.

These laws are also in place in New South Wales and Western Australia.

Victorian minister for Police Lisa Neville said, “We are outlawing all synthetic drugs to protect our communities from the harm they cause.

“Under these reforms, authorities will no longer need to play catch-up as new substances come onto the market.”

Anyone caught selling synthetic drugs could face two years in prison or more than $37,000 in fines.

The state government has also given police more power to prosecute ice dealers.

The government also aims to reduce the harm caused by drugs through minimising the amount of ice required to get a commercial trafficking offence.

Under the legislation:

  • large commercial trafficable quantities for methylamphetamine will be cut from 750g to 500g (when pure) and from 1kg to 750g (when mixed),
  • commercial trafficable quantities for methylamphetamine will be cut from 100g to 50g (when pure) and from 500g to 250g (when mixed).

The state government’s $103 million Ice Action Plan is also increasing its treatment services; protecting frontline workers, providing additional support for families, and providing extra powers to close down illicit drug manufactures.

The legislation also ensures detainees are able to get treatment for heroin or other opioid drug addiction.

Synthetic drugs have been linked to the deaths of three people in Victoria between 2013 and 2014.