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​Deadly synthetic drug classification increases

Issued: Monday, 14 March 2016

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The NSW Government will add three deadly synthetic drugs to the most serious illicit drugs category, Attorney General Gabrielle Upton said today.

"The NSW Government is acting now to reclassify these deadly substances to keep our community safe," Ms Upton said.

"The net result of this change means a person found guilty of manufacturing or selling these synthetic drugs could face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

"Do not be fooled by the synthetic tag - the dangers of these toxic drugs are real."

These drugs, AB-CHMINACA, AB-PINACA and AB-FUBINACA, are synthetically manufactured and are usually smoked or sold as "herbal tea" for recreational use.

Synthetic drugs have been linked to multiple deaths in other jurisdictions, including the death of two men in Queensland caused by hemorrhaging of the lungs due to severe poisoning.

While these products are falsely marketed as cannabis alternatives, herbal teas and bath salts, they can cause serious negative health effects, including hypertension, heart palpitations, psychiatric harm, seizures and in severe cases, death.

Psychoactive substances are illegal in NSW, and the NSW Government has already created a catchall offence to close potential loopholes for those who advertise, supply or manufacture psychoactive substances.

These changes build on the NSW Government's campaign to stamp out ice, which includes the introduction of harsher penalties for large-scale dealers, and new police powers to destroy illegal drugs sooner, improving health and safety for officers, and freeing them up from having to appear in court.