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CUSTOMS (NARCOTIC SUBSTANCES) REGULATIONS (AMENDMENT) 1996 NO. 224EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
STATUTORY RULES 1996 No. 224
Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Small Business and Consumer Affairs
Customs Act 1901
Customs (Narcotic Substances) Regulations (Amendment)
Section 270 of the Customs Act 1901 (the Act) provides in pan that the Governor. General may make regulations not inconsistent with the Act prescribing &U matters which by the Act are required to be prescribed for giving effect to the Act.
Section 4 of the Act provides in part that:
"Narcotic substance" means a substance or thing that is named or described in column 1 of Schedule VI or any other substance or thing for the time being declared by the regulations to be a narcotic substance.
Section 235 of the Act prescribes penalties (including imprisonment) for offences in relation to trafficable quantifies and commercial quantities of "narcotic substances".
The Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations (the Regulations) control the exportation of the goods specified in the various regulations or the Schedules to the Regulations, by prohibiting importation absolutely, or making exportation subject to the permission of a Minister or a specified person. Regulations 10 and 10A control the exportation of certain drugs by operation of Schedule 8 (Pans 1 to 4) to the Regulations.
The Customs (Narcotic Substances) Regulations (the Regulations) prescribe various substances for the purposes of section 235 of the Act.
These Regulations amend the Schedule to the Regulations to prescribe the drug "4hydroxybutanoic acid, its salts and esters" as a "narcotic substance" for the purposes of the Act. This drug is otherwise known as "Fantasy".
This amendment complements similar amendments to the Customs (Prohibited imports) Regulations in relation to importation of the drug, and the amendments to the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations in relation to exportation of the drug.
The abuse of the substance known as "Fantasy' has recently come to light following a recent incident in Queensland in which eight people wore hospitalised after taking a mixture believed to contain the substance.
The Government has decided that controls be introduced on the drug following the Queensland incident to address the public safety issues. The Government has been advised that the drug has no approved therapeutic use in Australia, and limited use in some overseas countries as an anaesthetic.
The Regulations commenced on gazettal.