Synthetic cannabis restrictions linked to decreased psychiatric patients

When new laws restricted the availability of synthetic cannabis in 2013 the number of people needing emergency psychiatric services after using synthetic cannabinoids reduced by half, say Dunedin researchers.

Drug use Photo by Flickr/David Simmonds
Drug use Photo by Flickr/David Simmonds

The Psychoactive Substances Act limited the availability of synthetic drugs to 50 shops nationally, with products having to meet certain safety-requirements.

Data from Dunedin’s Emergency Psychiatric Service was reviewed by researchers from Otago University three months prior and three months after the law was brought in. After the law was introduced, they found the number of patients presenting with synthetic cannabis related psychiatric symptoms to drop by 50 per cent, according to new research.

The reduction in the number of people seeking mental health care was estimated by the scientists to have saved the government over $3.1 million nationally during the three months after the law change.

The research was published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

Read more:
TVNZ: Banning synthetic drugs has saved health system millions – study
The New Zealand Herald: Clampdown slashes drug crises Mental health harm halved after legal highs restricted
3 News: Legal high ban cut psychiatric cases – study
Radio NZ: Synthetic drug ban success – study