Journalists capture images of a quantity of liquid methamphetamine put on display by Australian Border Force officers (R) at the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Sydney, February 15, 2016. Australian authorities said on Monday they had seized A$1.25 billion ($890.5 million) worth of liquid methamphetamine, or "ice", their largest haul of illicit drugs in two years.
The NSW government has taken a stern decision and banned three harmful synthetic drugs that are marketed as natural remedies. AB-PINACA, AB-CHMINACA and AB-FUBINACA have been added to the list of banned drugs, taking their place alongside illicit substances such as ice and heroin.
The three substances are sold to users as cannabis alternatives and recreational teas. The move to impose the ban is simply to highlight the serious and sometimes fatal consequences of taking synthetic drugs. Taking synthetic drugs has resulted in a spate of hospitalisations and even deaths.
According to News.com.au, 17-year-old Dean Shields died after taking a synthetic form of cannabis called Kronic at Rutherford in the Hunter Valley on Jan. 30. Two other Maitland men had to be hospitalised due to severe convulsions after consuming the same drug.
After this ban, anyone caught selling the drugs can face a lifetime in prison and Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton has warned users not to be fooled into believing that the drugs are harmless. Synthetic drugs can also cause psychiatric harm, seizures, heart palpitations and severe hypertension.
“These drugs have been marketed as bath salts and herbal teas and now the decision has been made to put them into the most serious illicit drug category to ensure the community is kept safe from them,” added Upton.
Commonwealth legislation had banned synthetic drugs three years ago. However, due to changing formulas, drug tests were never able to pick up all the varieties. Upton said that the identification and classification synthetic drugs were evolving continuously.
“That's why the work of the scheduling committee, which is onto that task, is an important one in giving advice to government, so that then we can change the regulations and the laws to ensure that those synthetics are caught by, in this case, what are some of the most serious penalties that are available,” she said.