Drug ban will fuel gang black market - warning
Deputy Prime Minister
and current Associate Minister
of Health, popularily known as
NZ's 'Drug Czar'. The banning of BZP party pills was "a sham" based on unreliable research and will feed a black market headed by drug-running gangs, a criminal law professor says. (By KERRY WILLIAMSON - The Press Friday, 01 August 2008 )
In an article in the New Zealand Law Journal - titled The Great BZP Hoax - Otago University professor Kevin Dawkins accuses the Government of rushing through legislation to ban BZP, ignoring regulatory measures that could have curbed rampant use of the drug.
He calls the Misuse of Drugs (Classification of BZP) Amendment Act, passed on April 1, "legislative folly" and writes that the BZP ban will push the drug underground and expose users to other drugs such as P and ecstasy.
"Since prohibition cannot repeal the law of supply and demand, those who prefer to continue using BZP will be forced into the black market and the arms of the gangs," he says.
Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton - who dismissed Professor Dawkins' article as "careless" - pushed through the BZP ban after a recommendation from an expert advisory committee on drugs. The research showed the pills caused migraines, hallucinations, vomiting, confusion, seizures and insomnia.
The ban came after regulatory measures were considered, including restrictions on dosages, labelling, points of sale, and advertising.
Professor Dawkins said those regulations were simply "a stalking horse" for prohibition.
"Not to have implemented the regulatory regime for BZP is a gross deception in itself," he writes in the Law Journal. "But to have jettisoned regulation in favour of prohibition aggravates the hoax."
He attacks the research used to support the ban, saying it was based on "unpublished, unreplicated and unreliable research, potentially compromised by conflicts of interest".
Mr Anderton said the BZP ban was implemented after "carefully weighing all the evidence I could". (that Anderton paid for and presented to the Expert Advisory Committee now overpopulated with justice, police, corrections, border control and other prohibitory vested interests, the very committe then Minister of Health, now Minister of Police, Hon Annette King said would 'take the politics out of drug policy'. Yeah Right! /Blair)
He said Professsor Dawkins had a "long record" of advocating drug law liberalisation. (so what!)
"The evidence told me very clearly that the drug had enough potential to cause harm that it could be banned," he said. (and alcohol doesnt?)
Mr Anderton said there was little evidence that banning BZP had turned users toward harder drugs.
Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell said he had questions about "the quality of some of the research" used to support a ban but that Mr Anderton "played a pretty straight bat" over party pills.
"I think [Professor Dawkins] is trying to find a conspiracy where there isn't one. I agree with him that there were a number of regulations put in place and they weren't enforced, and I think that's a real shame. But I disagree with his conclusion that there was a direct attempt by the minister to get his way."
Pity that the Press didnt take the opportunity to inquire into the larger 'legislative and public policy fraud' simmering behind the banning of BZP; the ommision of any discussion around the legislative framework for controlled availability; Class D.
That would have been the acid test to determine any Anderton agenda, or indeed if Bell 's opinion that 'this was about BZP' held water. / Blair Anderson