May 18th, 2015

pigtails

WUT

So I'm reading the departmental disclosure statement from the Ministry of Health regarding the Psychoactive Substances Amendment Bill (the one that banned legal highs last year). It claims 'ongoing reports of serious adverse effects' as justification for the changes.

Yet, in the question that states 'Are there any publicly available inquiry, review or evaluation reports that have informed or are relevant to, the policy to be given effect by this Bill?' the answer is NO.

Drilling down further, in the Regulatory Impact Statement, I discover that the 40-60 reports of adverse effects per month during the time the Act was in force (that's a high end of 600 reports in 10 months out of 3.5 million doses sold) are actually self-reports of what the MoH considers minor adverse effects (such as nausea and agitation). Further, the estimated 150-200 people who 'may have developed dependency' is a figure extrapolated from people accessing drug and alcohol services at *one* DHB (Waitemata).

I am not convinced this actually demonstrates ongoing serious effects worthy of a law change without consultation or scrutiny.

That 600/3500000 means a 0.017 chance of feeling nauseous or vomiting from using a legal high. Shock horror, call the hospitals, it's an epidemic!

[edit] I went back and rechecked that figure because I didn't think I had it right. But it's true. 3.5 million packets of synthetic cannabis sold and maximum 600 people had problems in the 10 months of regulation. 0.017%. Nuts.