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Marta Rychert

Doctor of Philosophy, (Public Health)
Study Completed: 2017
College of Health


Thesis Title
A critical analysis of New Zealand's Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 and its implementation process

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

The proliferation of new psychoactive substances (NPS, sometimes known as 'legal highs') has recently challenged international and national drug control systems. In response to the ongoing problems with prohibitive policy approaches to new drugs, in July 2013 New Zealand parliament passed the Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA), which established the world's first regulated legal market for NPS. Under this regime, businesses are allowed to legally manufacture and sell psychoactive products, provided they prove that their products cause no more than a low risk of harm to consumers. Implementation of the law proved challenging. An interim regulated market established under transitional provisions of the PSA was abruptly ended in May 2014 following ongoing problems with the products and public protests. Ms Rychert's mixed-methods research critically analyses the PSA and its implementation process, including challenges experienced during the interim regime. Findings provide important lessons for drug policy reform in New Zealand and other countries.

Associate Professor Chris Wilkins
Professor Karen Witten