Local ‘legal high’ laws liked in London

New Zealand leading the way in dealing with legal highs.

Britain ‘impressed’ with NZ’s legal high laws

New Zealand’s regime for approving so-called “legal highs” could become a template for British regulations, with a government committee there recommending key parts of new legislation be adopted.

A report by Britain’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform has recommended Westminster should adopt “the key features of the New Zealand policy” – that the onus of proving legal highs have a “low risk of harm” should be put on the manufacturers.

The British drug reform committee, chaired by Baroness Meacher, is “impressed” by New Zealand’s approach.

“They have examined the best available knowledge about the harms of particular psychoactive substances,” the British committee’s report said.

“They encourage suppliers to focus on product safety, and restriction of supply to protect vulnerable consumers, particularly young people.”

Like any product the onus of ensuring reasonable safety should be on the supplier.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said today he was not surprised by the report’s findings with one of the committee members “making positive noises” about the approach during a visit late last year.

Other countries were also watching the new regime with interest.

“We’re getting a lot of enquiries from Britain, various states in Australia, jurisdictions in the United States, about the regime,” Dunne said.

“They all see it as being quite innovative, and a world first really, in terms of how to address the issue.”

The new pre-market testing rules for legal highs are scheduled to come into force in August.

Tripme tripping up

The Tripme website says it aims to inform and educate on drug use. In some respects this is true, but by prominently promoting drugs – the use of and purchase of through advertising – it contradicts those aims, and in some respects is grossly misleading.

In reality Tripme is as it appears at first glance, a site promoting drug use. And it is dishonest about this.

From the Trip Me Rules/Disclaimer/Terms & Conditions page:

Tripme (www.tripme.co.nz) is an international website and message board that educates the public about responsible drug use by promoting free discussion. We advocate harm reduction and attempt to eliminate misinformation.

That sounds fine.

Tripme does not condone or condemn the use of illegal drugs. Tripme is a place for people to ask questions and educate themselves about drugs so they can make more informed decisions regarding their personal use. Other programs that advocate complete abstinence have had limited success, so Tripme anticipates that people will continue to use illegal drugs regardless of the potential health or legal consequences. We want to encourage people to take personal responsibility for the choices they make regarding their drug consumption.

And that seems be a very sensible and responsible approach.

Beyond harm reduction, Tripme also seeks to educate the public about drugs by summarizing whatever information is known about a subject. Tripme aims to deliver accurate information in an easy to understand manner that emphasizes safety. We also try to eliminate misinformation whether it exaggerates or understates the danger. If facts are unavailable, then honest anecdotal stories can provide useful information so people have an idea of what to expect.

Since Tripme seeks to reach the widest possible audience, we take a balanced approach that allows the discussion of both the positive and negative aspects of drug use. We believe that education and harm reduction are more effective than using scare tactics or exaggerating negative claims. Anyone looking through our site will be able to find examples of irresponsible behavior, but we believe it does not glorify recklessness but instead reinforces the idea that people need to be more cautious.

Great.

But there are a couple of major flaws tripping the website up.

Free speech

The opening paragraph of their Rules page…

Tripme…educates the public about responsible drug use by promoting free discussion.

…highlighted in Forum Rules…

Speak your mind here at Tripme. Make use of the right to free speech.

…but…

By viewing Tripme.co.nz you agree that you are not an investigator, reporter, member of any National or International government agencies or Police force that intends to disrupt the community efforts at harm minimization and drug safety.

If you do not totally agree with the above statement you MUST leave this website now.

That seems to be uttering hypocrisy. Free speech and information allowed, but only if you’re on their side.

Funding and advertising

Tripme is funded by private donations and maintained by a team of volunteers.

And…

This website is for educational and informational purposes only.

That is extremely dishonest.

The banner for the Tripme website and prominent animated advertsing on the website links to a drug sales website:

TOP QUALITY LEGAL HIGHS AND SYNTHETIC CANNABIS IN NEW ZEALAND

And pill ‘reviews’ have multiple links directly to sales sites of those pills:

Party Pill Review: Hypnotic

Okay, this is my first time on a pill with Glaucine. Glaucine is a yellow horned poppy extract said to be very mildly psychedelic and quite sedative. I dropped two of these hypnotics (which is the recommended dose for a bigger person).

Starts off more relaxed, with some stimulation. Little urge to do anything. As it first starts, I’m thinking, this is nice, smooth relaxed, and have high hopes this is smoother feeling.

As it kicks in more fully, I feel kinda spacey, waves of relaxation and stimulation, quite strong and light headed….Kinda giddy relaxed feeling hit me like a wall, couldn’t keep writing the reveiw for a bit, mangled, spacey, sedated & had to just sit! So the come up is very quick…

Click Here to Buy Online or …

Etc, to the end of the review…

You can Buy Hypnotic Party Pill Online from our Sponsor xxx

(I’ve removed the links because I’m not going to assist advertising).

It’s very obvious that Tripme is not just a drug education site funded by donations. It has prominent and direct links to drug sellers and admits being sponsored by commercial operations.

Tripme appears to be doing some things very well and responsibly, including:

  • Many of their stated aims are laudable
  • Age restriction (although it’s not prominent)
  • Warnings about the affect of drugs on young people
  • Forums on addiction and depression support

But Tripme is promoting the use of drugs by prominently advertising them. This severely compromises the site’s stated aims of education and balanced information.