Here's my proposed submission to the Health Committee that is considering the Misuse of Drugs (Classification of BZP) Amendment Bill.
I oppose the intent of this bill because:
1. The control of potentially harmful substances, in order to achieve any degree of popular acceptance, should be evidence based.
2. Despite 15% of young adults in New Zealand using BZP, there have been no deaths and no proven long term harm as a result.
3. Comparable drugs which are not to be proscribed by the bill cause 1000 deaths (alcohol) and 5000 deaths (tobacco).
4. Some level of use of recreational substances by young people and others is inevitable in all open, democratic societies.
5. Proscribing a further group of substances will not reduce the overall level of use but will result in users switching to other substances, which may be more objectively harmful (e.g. Methamphetamine)
6. No alternatives to proscription of BZP (such as education, control of outlets, price control through taxation) have been attempted, apart from banning sales to under 18s.
7. The normal presumption of innocence under the Bill of Rights Act is reversed by this act. It is unjustified to remove this basic right for the crime of supplying an allegedly mildly harmful substance, whilst it remains for serious crimes against the person, such as rape.
Any thoughts? The deadline for submissions is the 12th October. I believe that the committee sees a summary of the points raised by submitters, so for maximum effect, submissions should try and include original points that will be included in that summary.