Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment


Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Miscellaneous Amendment Act 2017 No.40 (Vic)

The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Miscellaneous Amendment Act 2017 No. 40 (Vic) (the Amending Act) has amended the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) (the Act).

Parts of the Amending Act commenced on 21 October 2017 and the remainder on 1 November 2017.

New exemption from obtaining a Schedule 8 poison permit

With a view to facilitating the effective administration of opioid substitution therapy to persons detained in police gaols, the Amending Act has amended section 34F of the Act to exempt the need for a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to obtain a Schedule 8 permit where a Schedule 8 poison (e.g. methadone) is being administered, supplied or prescribed to or for a person who is being treated in a police gaol (for the period in the police gaol), and for the period not exceeding 7 days after that person’s release from the police gaol.

Psychoactive substantives

Organisations should be aware that the Amending Act has also introduced a number of new offences to the Act regarding the production, sale, commercial supply and advertisement of psychoactive substances (which are in short, substances that (subject to appropriate exclusions), either have a psychoactive effect when consumed or are represented as having such an effect). These new provisions are listed below:

  • section 56D (which prohibits a person from producing a substance that the person knows or reasonably suspects is a psychoactive substance);
  • section 56E (which prohibits a person from selling a substance that the person knows or reasonably suspects is a psychoactive substance, and which prohibits a person (in the course of carrying out a commercial activity) from supplying to another person a substance that the person knows or reasonably suspects is psychoactive substance);
  • section 56F(1) (which prohibits a person from displaying on or inside a public place, or a vehicle or vessel that is in a public place, an advertisement that the person intends as a promotion of the consumption, sale or supply of psychoactive substance);
  • section 56F(2) (which prohibits a person from displaying on or inside a public place or a vehicle or vessel that is in a public place, an advertisement if the person knows that there is a substantial risk that the consumption, sale or supply of a psychoactive substance may be promoted by the advertisement).

Organisations should keep in mind that a breach of sections 56D, 56E and 56F will incur a sanction of up to 240 penalty units (currently $38,056.80) or 2 years imprisonment (or both) for an individual, and up to 1,200 penalty units (currently $190,284) for a body corporate.

Synthetic cannabinoids added to Schedule 11 of the Act

Finally, organisations should be aware that that the Amending Act has introduced a number of different synthetic cannabinoids to Schedule 11 of the Act, to classify those drugs as drugs of dependence.

Conclusion

Organisations should ensure that relevant staff are made aware of the new offences and changes discussed above and as outlined in the Vic – Drugs and Vic – Drugs (Aged Care) modules.