A pioneering act which scientifically regulates legal highs rather than banning them has attracted global drug reformers to New Zealand.

The reformers meet in Auckland this month to discuss the Psychoactive Substances Act and advocate further drug reform.

The act offers a world-first scientific and health-oriented approach to legal highs. The British Government was reportedly looking to New Zealand as a positive model.

Speaker Rick Doblin, a long-time drug advocate and founder of the US-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, said it was a basic right that people be able to access their own states of consciousness.

”While these are substances which people use for recreation, they also use them for spirituality,” he said. I hope we learn in the United States that we should focus on reduction of harm and purity of drugs.”

Many were looking to New Zealand as a pioneer after the enactment of the act last year, Star Trust general manager Grant Hall said.

A key part of the new legislation has been the ability to remove products from the market that cause harm. Five have already been removed.

Before the act came into force about 200 legal high products were sold from 4000 outlets throughout the country to people of all ages. This has dropped to 47 products sold from 170 outlets and it’s now illegal to sell or give these products to anyone under 18.

Hall said regulation meant there would be a minimal black market for the drugs and that many substances would be safer than alcohol and tobacco.

Read more http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9779475/Drug-reformers-to-converge-on-New-Zealand

How A Big Drug Company Inadvertently Got Americans Hooked On Heroin

When she was 18, Arielle would come home every day and embark on what she calls an “Easter egg hunt.” She wasn’t looking for candy. Arielle was hunting behind stairwells and inside closets in her suburban Long Island home for the OxyContin bottles her cousin brought home from work at a pharmacy and was hiding from her mother around the house.

“I found them one day, and I wanted to try them because all of my friends were already hooked,” said Arielle, who asked that her last name be withheld to avoid hurting her chances of getting a job. “I would see [my cousin] nodding out on the couch and not really being present, and that was how I wanted to feel. My best friend had just passed away, so I was numbing out the feelings.”

It took about a year before Arielle moved from prescription painkillers into the illegal drug that killed her best friend: heroin. She snorted it for the first time after tagging along with a friend who was going to buy some. “I was like, ‘I love it,'” she said. Heroin was cheaper than prescription pills — about $10 a bag, compared to $60 to $80 per pill — and gave her a more potent high.

Her friend helped her inject the drug. “It was a feeling that I don’t think anyone should experience. Because once you experience it, you want to experience it over and over again,” she said. “ Next thing I know, I’m addicted.”

Keep reading http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/24/heroin-epidemic_n_4790898.html