OUTLAWING synthetic drugs is a simplistic answer to a complicated issue according to addiction medicine physician Rod MacQueen.
Synthetic drugs will be outlawed in NSW under new laws that carry jail terms of up to two years and fines of more than $2000
Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts said the government would introduce the legislation on Tuesday.
The NSW government spokesman said the laws are the first of their kind in Australia and will target the manufacture, supply and advertising of synthetic drugs such as synthetic cannabis, cocaine and LSD.
Dr MacQueen said he was not in any way advocating the use of the substances but thought other options should be considered.
“Heroin and cannabis are illegal and they’re still out there,” he said.
The substances were placed under an interim ban in June and were removed from the shelves of adult stores.
The ban is a knee-jerk reaction to an incident where a teenager died after allegedly taking synthetic LSD, he said.
“Putting in laws is all very appealing and the belief is that it equates to a happy peaceful society but quite often it is the inverse,” Dr MacQueen said.
In his opinion young people who want to do “something naughty” and will experiment with a drug they know about like marijuana.
“I’d like to understand what is happening here before we go and make a storm in a teacup,” he said.
Health Service Union Central West Ambulance sub-branch president Matt Pickering said the union welcomed the laws.
“It’s pretty scary stuff and [the ban] puts the public in a safer position,” he said.
“It can make people extremely sick with erratic heartbeats where they have to be taken to intensive care.”
He said he believed the use of the substance would reduce because it would no longer be readily accessible.
“People don’t know what it is, there are lots of different types,” he said.
Dr MacQueen said politicians and police should be focusing on the number one drug problem in the country - alcohol.