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Synthetic drugs are a blight on our society, and those who deal and profit from them have been put on notice today as the Psychoactive Substances Amendment Bill passed its second reading, MP for Pakuranga Simeon Brown says.

“More than 45 deaths have been attributed to synthetic drugs this past 12 months alone, with a countless number of people also being admitted to hospitals requiring treatment due to harmful side effects.

“This needs to stop. One of the key principles of Government is the protection of its citizens from things that would do them harm, and I’m pleased to see that at least a small part of the current Government acknowledges that.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank New Zealand First for their continued support of my Bill and for standing with National as we seek to protect New Zealanders from these harmful substances.

“My Bill will increase the maximum prison sentence for those caught dealing synthetic drugs from 2 years to 8 years, which will deter suppliers and give our justice system more power to keep these criminals away from the vulnerable people they prey on.

“We cannot simply reclassify a couple of strains here and there and hope the problem goes away. Illegal manufacturers have had little difficulty reworking their drugs to differentiate them from those we’ve identified and regulated, so blanket penalties are required to get them off the streets and this is what my Bill will accomplish.

“Enough is enough, and it’s time for the rest of the Government to get on board and take this issue seriously before more irreversible harm is done. As a Parliament we need to be united in our ambition to care for and protect our fellow New Zealanders, and my Bill is an important step in the fight to eradicate harmful synthetics.

“I’m calling on the Government to support my Bill when it returns for its third reading to send a clear message that dealing deadly drugs will no longer be tolerated in New Zealand.”

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