A study shows mental health harms from synthetic cannabis halved after the introduction of the Psychoactive Substances Act amendment.
The number of emergency psychiatric episodes have halved after legislation restricting the sale of the drug came in to force in 2013, a study shows.
The study by a team at Otago University, Dunedin analysed case notes of patients at Dunedin Hospital’s emergency psychiatric service with symptoms associated with synthetic cannabis for three months prior to and after the Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) was passed in mid-2013.
Synthetic cannaboids were restricted to 50 shops nationally and the number of products available reduced by one third as a result of the legislation.
The study, published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, found there was a 52 per cent reduction in the number of patients seen after the PSA was implemented.
Based on daily District Health Board (DHB) costs, the post PSA decrease in presentations represented a saving of $87,000 over three months, the study said.
Translated to a national population this would represent a saving of $3.1 million.
Last year an amendment to the PSA was passed which effectively banned synthetic cannabis from sale.
Glue said, since then presentations had dropped to “practically zero”, which was a huge health gain.
“From a public health perspective it’s indefensible to allow things that make people suicidal, aggressive and have major effects on their mental health.”