Users seize last chance to buy legal highs

COLLETTE DEVLIN AND FAIRFAX
Last updated 05:00 08/05/2014

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People streamed into a city store as users grabbed their last chance to buy legal highs yesterday.

At midnight it became illegal to sell, supply or possess psychoactive substances, including synthetic cannabis. The Government passed legislation banning the substances on Tuesday night.

Early yesterday morning people were streaming into Pillz & Thrillz, a vendor of psychoactive substances.

A spokeswoman for the store declined to comment on whether customers were stockpiling legal highs or how they felt about the ban. Two police cars were parked outside the store yesterday.

Senior Constable Michael Hore said it was for public relations.

There were no issues - police were seeing how the last day was going.

"The one retailer [Pillz & Thrillz] in Invercargill is sticking by the rules and regulations," he said. Police would support Public Health South with daily compliance checks.

Southern District Health Board community drug and alcohol service medical director Dr Gavin Cape said users could expect withdrawal symptoms to last a few days.

He said that people coming off legal highs should get support, exercise gently and drink plenty of water.

Most users would probably not experience much in the way of withdrawal - perhaps low-grade flu-like symptoms.

The Psychoactive Substances Amendment Act bans the 41 products given interim approval under legislation passed last year. The act also ensures future potential legal highs cannot be tested on animals.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said the intent of the original Psychoactive Substances Act remained, with approved low-risk products able to come to market in the future when regulations are made.

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