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Peter Dunne

8 March, 2012

Dunne announces Temporary Class Drug Notice

A common ingredient in ‘party pills’ and some weight loss and sports performance supplements is being banned and expected to be off the market in early April, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced today.

A Temporary Class Drug Notice has been placed on the substance commonly known as DMAA ((1,3-dimethylamylamine), bringing to 21 the total number of substances banned under the notices brought in under amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act in August last year, Mr Dunne said.

DMAA has been linked to a range of health concerns, including increased blood pressure, headaches and vomiting. However, severe cases of cerebral haemorrhage or stroke have also been reported.

“DMAA is the first substance other than a synthetic cannabinoid to be banned using the temporary notices, and I think this decision demonstrates the wider use of Temporary Class Drug Notices to protect the health and well being of New Zealanders,” he said.

“It is not just about party pills and synthetic cannabis,”

The notices are issued on substances rather than commercial products, meaning that all products that contain those substances effectively become banned.

“Again this is part of the merit of the legislative changes we made last year. We are not chasing around after individual products in a never-ending game of catch-up. It is proving to be very effective legislation and has virtually completely nailed the synthetic cannabis industry,” Mr Dunne said.

Mr Dunne said today’s announcement means any product containing this chemical must be removed from shelves and can no longer be sold over the internet in New Zealand from 9 April.

Because this ban affects a wider range of products and sellers than those that have typically just impacted on the synthetic cannabis or party pill industries, there is a 30-day period before the ban takes effect.

“We need to make sure that people have a reasonable time to be adequately informed of the ban,” he said.

Temporary Class Drug Notices are a holding measure until permanent legislation can be developed this year to reverse the onus of proof so all such products must meet appropriate levels of safety before they can be approved and sold.

In another matter, Tapentadol, a new opioid medication for the treatment of acute and chronic pain, has had controls added to its use following its classification as a controlled drug.

It is becoming a Class B3 controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act, placing robust controls on the importation, supply, and possession of Tapentadol in order to minimise its illegal diversion and non-medical use.

“Opioids play an important role in the treatment of pain but their non-medical use can result in serious health harms,” Mr Dunne said.

The classification under the Misuse of Drugs Act reflects the need to balance the potential risk of harm from misuse with the need to ensure that people who would benefit from the legitimate use of Tapentadol are able to get it on prescription from a registered medical practitioner.

This change follows the advice provided by the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs, he said.