A STATE-WIDE blanket ban on synthetic drugs came into effect this week.
The ban makes it illegal to to produce, sell or promote any substances that have a psychoactive effect, regardless of their chemical make-up.
While many of these substances were previously available for purchase over the counter, anyone peddling these substances now faces tough penalties, including up to two years in prison or more than $38,000 in fines.
The new laws also give police the power to search and seize any psychoactive drugs, in the same way police can search for any illicit drug.
Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan welcomed the new blanket ban.
“Our ban on synthetic drugs will help save lives,” she said. “These drugs had been passed off as safe, legal highs when in reality they’re just dangerous chemical cocktails”
“Many residents came to me and shared their harrowing experiences of loved ones using synthetic drugs.”
Synthetic drugs are designed to mimic the effects of illicit drugs like cannabis and ecstasy, while trying to avoid existing drug control measures.
The substances have been linked to increased hospital emergency admissions and a number of deaths in the past few years.
The World Health Organisation has indicated the harmful effects of synthetic drugs can include seizures, heart problems, withdrawal symptoms and addictions and blood-borne diseases.
The state government has also stepped up its fight on ice dealers with new laws that reduce the amount of ice required for commercial trafficking offences also commencing this week.
These ice reforms are mirrored by the changes to heroin trafficking quantities that were announced yesterday, as a part of the Drug Rehabilitation Plan.
Large commercial traffickable quantities for ice have been cut from 750g to 500g of pure methylamphetamine, and from 1kg to 750g when mixed.
Commercial traffickable quantities have been reduced from 100g to 50g of pure methylamphetamine and from 500g to 250g when mixed.
Anyone convicted of large commercial trafficking faces a maximum of life in prison, or up to 25 years for commercial trafficking.