9 May 2013

Mayor tells MPs some dairy owners drug dealers

5:36 am on 9 May 2013

The mayor of Timaru has labelled some dairy owners drug dealers when it comes to selling party pills and so-called legal highs.

Ms Annear was giving evidence at Parliament's health select committee on Wednesday during hearings on the Psychoactive Substances Bill.

If passed, the bill, introduced by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne, would require manufacturers and suppliers to prove their products are safe before they can be sold.

Ms Annear told MPs some dairies are making at least $15,000 a week and people in the South Canterbury town are deeply worried.

"Once upon a time a dairy used to be the family friend and if you nicked a bit of extra money and bought too many lollies they'd ring your mum and dad and let your know.

"Well, now they're our drug dealers of our community."

Ms Annear said four dairies in her district are selling large volumes of the products and earning at least $15,000 a week each from them and told MPs the law should come into effect immediately.

The Drug Foundation told the committee the law should prohibit dairies from selling party pills and legal highs.

Massey University senior researcher Chris Wilkins urged MPs to tax the substances and said they should not be sold where alcohol is sold, or in supermarkets.

Dr Wilkins told the committee the bill is a world-leading measure. He believed it should go ahead and the products approved for sale should be taxed.

"Research on alcohol and tobacco control has shown that a high price influences young people and it influences heavy users."