Statistics revealed by the Ministry of Health show the number of hospitalisations resulting from synthetic drug use is rising, yet the Government continues to sit on its hands, MP for Pakuranga Simeon Brown says.
“Over the past two years we have seen a dramatic increase in those being admitted to hospital as a result of synthetic drug use, after an initial drop following the original implementation of the Psychoactive Substances Act.
“This is the clearest indication yet that the Act needs fixing with tougher penalties for those who supply these dangerous drugs. That is exactly what my Bill will do, by increasing the maximum penalty for supply from two years to 14 years.
“Of particular concern is the number of minors (those aged 0-14 years) who are being caught up by these drugs. Over the past five years 17 children have been admitted to hospital with poisoning from synthetics, even one child is one too many.
“The statistics released under the Official Information Act show that in the 2016/17 year there were roughly 40 hospitalisations from synthetic drug use, and last year there were more than 80. Hospital admissions were as low as 10 in the 2015/16 year after the Psychoactive Substances Act was introduced.
“The correlation is clear between the large increases in hospital admissions and manufacturers of synthetic drugs continually coming up with deadlier strains. Labour and the Greens continue to ignore the seriousness of this issue, and if it wasn’t for New Zealand First’s continued support of my Bill these numbers would likely rise again.
“I am again calling on the Labour and the Greens to get behind my Bill which will be back in Parliament before the end of the year and take real action on an issue which has led to the deaths of 50 New Zealanders this past year.”