Second synthetic cannabis product recalled within days
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne today announced that the Ministry of Health is recalling a second synthetic cannabis product, Juicy Puff Super Strength, within days because it contains the drug phenazepam.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne today announced that the Ministry of Health is recalling a second synthetic cannabis product, Juicy Puff Super Strength, within days because it contains the drug phenazepam.
Mr Dunne said finding phenazepam – an anti-anxiety and anti-convulsion prescription drug – in a second product in a week reinforces the problem of suppliers being able to put unregulated drugs on the market where their safety is unproven.
“The people in this industry are generally not trustworthy or reliable.
“They are fast-buck merchants who, on the one hand claim to be offering a legal and safe alternative to illicit drugs, then throw their hands in the air and say they do not know what is in their products when our testing catches them out.
“They cannot have it both ways.
“This has now happened twice in the last week,” Mr Dunne said.
“This industry can be trusted about half as far as it can be kicked.”
He said that restrictions that will curb the marketing and advertising of synthetic cannabis products are just weeks away, and will be made through amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act.
“In the longer term the solution we are looking at is reversing the onus of proof and making the manufacturers and suppliers prove their products are safe before they get anywhere near the market.
“That way they will not be able to just change an ingredient or two and put a new variant of the same bad products on the market.
“From the response to Thursday’s recall of Pineapple Express, it is clear the vast majority of the public are behind the Government’s moves to change the onus of proof so producers and suppliers of these products need to prove they are safe before they can sell them,” he said.
Currently, authorities have to prove such products are unsafe before they can be taken off the market.
“We are doing that successfully, but it is not an ideal process. It is cart before horse and the restrictions that will come in in the next few weeks are an important step in addressing these issues,” Mr Dunne said.
”Juicy Puff Super Strength now joins Kronic Pineapple Express as being illegal to buy, sell, use or possess without a doctor’s prescription – and that means it is off the market,” he said.
The Health Ministry is contacting Cosmic Corner Limited, the company that supplies Juicy Puff Super Strength, to officially inform it that is required to recall it from retailers immediately.
As with Kronic Pineapple Express, the Ministry will conduct further investigations before making any decision on a possible prosecution.
Questions and Answers:
Why is this product illegal?
The Ministry of Health believes this product is in breach of the Medicines Act 1981 because it contains a medicine being distributed without the consent of the Minister of Health. Medsafe has contacted the supplier and required them to quarantine stock in hand and recall stock from retailers.
What does this product contain?
It contains an unauthorised substance called phenazepam. Phenazepam is a member of a class of products called benzodiazepines that are scheduled as prescription medicines.
What effects does phenazepam have?
When used at doses between 0.5 to 2 mg taken orally, phenazepam is reported to have anti-anxiety ( and anticonvulsant ) activity. Reported side effects include, loss of coordination, dizziness, drowsiness and anterograde amnesia ( inability to remember recent events ). At higher doses, double vision, delirium and psychosis have been reported.
Phenazepam is highly potent and is easy to overdose on and often results in loss of inhibitions and unusual behaviour.
When taken with alcohol the effects of alcohol and/or phenazepam will be pronounced.
The use of phenazepam can lead to dependence.
There is no information available regarding the safety or effects of phenazepam when smoked. When taken this way phenazepam may denature into other chemicals that may be toxic in their own right.
Are products containing synthetic cannabinoids still legal?
Yes, though the Government is proposing changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act to make sales illegal to people under the age of 18 and provide for a number of other restrictions. The Government is also considering the Law Commission report into the control and regulation of drugs which advocated a new regulatory framework for new or unregulated substances like the synthetic cannabinoids in Kronic Pineapple Express and Juicy Puff Super Strength.
If a consumer is taking one of these recalled products what should they do?
Stop taking them and safely destroy the product or return it to the retailer for a refund.
If a retailer is selling this product, what should they do?
Take if off the shelves and return it to their supplier.
Have the other products on sale in New Zealand been tested?
ESR is currently testing a range of these related products and this testing is expected to be completed shortly. If the presence of any prescription medicine is found at a level causing concern similar regulatory action will be taken by Medsafe.
Who imports and manufactures Kronic Pineapple Express?
The Ministry understands that the supplier in NZ is Cosmic Corner Limited, an Christchurch-based company.
Where can I find more information about the health effects of Kronic Pineapple Express; its active ingredients; and side effects?
Anyone concerned about the health effects should in the first instance ring Healthline on 0800 611 116.
What is the penalty for breaches to the Medicines Act?
Section 20 of the Medicines Act 1981 require medicines to be approved before distribution in New Zealand.
Breaches of Section 20 where an unapproved medicine is distributed can result in a fine of $20,000 and six months prison for an individual and $100,000 for a body corporate.
This story was released on 2011-07-06. Please make sure to visit the official company or organization web site to learn more about the original release date. See our disclaimer for additional information.