Teen's death sparks 'ruthless' ban on synthetic drugs

A RUTHLESS ban on synthetic drugs being sold in stores around New South Wales was put in place by Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts today.

The 90-day ban on the sale of synthetic drugs was put in place after the tragic death of a Sydney teenager under the influence a drug similar to LSD last week.

Mr Roberts said the state government "will apply these bans and we will apply them ruthlessly" in Sydney and across regional centres all over the state.

Retailers such as adult shops and tobacconists had two days to take about 18 synthetic drugs off the shelves after Mr Roberts' announcement.

The ban includes synthetic drugs such as Kronic, K2, Skunk, Black Widow, White Revolver, Ash Inferno and Montana Madness.

Mr Roberts described the crackdown as the "largest operation in the Commonwealth" on such substances.

The temporary ban will include any synthetic drugs that "can cause permanent injury to yourselves or your family, and even death".

Mr Roberts' message to retailers of such products was to "get them off your shelves before Fair Trading come to your premises".

He said inspections would take place "from Tweed to Wagga, from Balmain to Broken Hill".

Mr Roberts also called on the federal government to "step up to the plate" to help ensure such drugs are not allowed through customs.

Many of the substances are marketed as bath salts or plant food products, with producers changing the chemical formula of such drugs in order to avoid existing laws.

It came after a warning from the Australian Drug Foundation's head of policy Geoff Munro.

Mr Munro said on Friday the effects and contents of such drugs remained unknown, and advised people against using them.

"People who sell and take these drugs often have no idea what is in them. They can include little-known chemicals imported from overseas," he said.

"The Australian Drug Foundation calls on people selling synthetic drugs in herbal shops, tobacconists or so-called adult shops to withdraw these products until they are proven as safe and fit for human consumption.

"They are exploiting consumers who may think they are safe and legal products. Yet they are not tested and are not approved for human consumption."

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