Dunne Makes Right Decision on Synthetic Cannabis
Matt Bowden, co-founder of Stargate International, is delighted by the announcement of Associate Minister of Health, Hon Peter Dunne, that cannabinomimetics, or synthetic cannabis, are to be made a restricted substance under the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act 2005.
Social Tonics Chairman and Drug Policy Activist Matt Bowden said today that the DMAA overdose reported by Christchurch hospital doctor Paul Gee in the New Zealand Medical Journal last week is a classic case of history repeating itself.
New Party Pill Set To Rock.
Well known drug policy activist and rock musician Matt Bowden said that Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne’s announcement to schedule natural energy pill ingredient DMAA as a Restricted Substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act was “welcome news.”
Party Pill Ban Lapse Averts Disaster.
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand today said that the pre-Christmas Party Pill ban was poorly planned. “A pre-Christmas ban would have sent hundreds of thousands of everyday kiwi consumers to the black market gangs to stock up for their festivities,” said STANZ Chairman Matt Bowden, “it is hardly surprising that such a notion doesn’t have enough support in Parliament, it was a dangerous and bad idea.”
Government plans to ban bzp based on anecdotal evidence.
MP Jacqui Dean admitted to the Health Select Committee in Parliament on Wednesday that the reasoning behind her call to ban BZP – the belief that “it is a gateway to harder drugs” – is based mostly on anecdotal evidence.
Water banning reflex no joke.
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) today called for Oamaru MP Jacqui Dean to step down from speaking on drug issues after she demonstrated a lack of credibility in calling for the ban of dihydrogen monoxide (water.) A group of party pill consumers successfully used the DHMO (water banning) hoax to determine whether Ms Dean’s position on substances was evidence based or not, and whether there would be any consideration for the impact this proposed ban would have on the public.
Official minutes show expert committee split on party pills.
The Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs is divided over whether party pills pose a low or moderate risk of harm and has significant reservations about the quality of much of the research on which it based its recommendation to ban BZP, according to official records.
Party pills will be safer regulated than on the black market.
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand today corrected a misconception that party pills contain illegal drugs and identified evidence of the trend for party pill ingredients to make their way onto the black market.
Party Pill ban removes safety barrier for young adults.
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) today decried the ban on party pills as removing the safety barrier for young adults partying behaviours, and said that it was inconsistent with moves to review the Misuse of Drugs Act. Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton announced the review of the Misuse of Drugs Act to be conducted by the Law Commission next year after too many ad hoc adjustments had been made to the legislation over the years, but then also introduced to the House today a new Bill to ban party pills before Christmas this year.
Minister should use the solution to hand – STANZ
“The Government’s decision to ban BZP was expected. What is surprising is the Government’s failure to protect the public by using the remedy to hand,” the Social Tonics Association of New Zealand said today.
Industry Welcomes Christening of Drug Regulations.
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) today welcomed the first prosecution under the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act of a man who sold party pills to a minor.
risks exaggerated, but banning will only make them worse.
Dean’s bill to prohibit legal party
pills will result in an increase in Illegal drug use and abuse
of alcohol, according to research by respected market research
organisation Consumer Link.
Survey sounds strong warning on costs of banning BZP.
Illegal drug use and abuse of alcohol will increase if legal party pills are prohibited, according to a survey by respected market research organisation Consumer Link.
STANZ offers full safety code for party pills.
A comprehensive regulatory regime and safety code governing the manufacture, sale
and use of party pills were today released by the Social Tonics Association of New Zealand.
Prohibiting party pills will deliver the market to the gangs.
The prohibition of alcohol in the United States in the 1920s contains many important and deadly serious lessons for New Zealand as our government considers banning party pills here.
Questions Raised On Party Pills.
Chair of the Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ), Matt Bowden, today said he had grave concerns about the research upon which the decision to ban party pills in New Zealand was based.
Comparative Risks of Legal Party Pills, Alcohol and Illegal Drugs.
Legal party pills are extremely common throughout New Zealand and are a recognised form of social stimulant. According to industry experts, over 20 million pills have been consumed over the last 5 years.
Report into party pills misses the point.
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) today said that any move to ban party pills would simply lead to tens of thousands of New Zealanders instead taking dangerous illegal drugs.
Research: party pills stopping illegal drug use.
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) today welcomed the release of new independent research showing that party pills are playing a critical role as a safer alternative to
research shows party pills stopping illegal drug use
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) today
welcomed the release of new independent research showing that
party pills are playing a critical role as a safer alternative
to illegal drugs.
Party Pill Promoters Must Face the Facts.
Associate Justice Minister and Waimakariri MP Clayton Cosgrove says a new
study confirms that party pills are a gateway to illicit drugs, a serious road safety
risk and are addictive, for many people.
welcomes party pill sting
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand,
representing responsible members of the party pill industry,
today welcomed a police sting on companies selling party pills
EASE trial terminated after conflicting advice.
Stargate International today announced its decision to terminate a non-therapeutic clinical trial after receiving conflicting opinions on the legality of one of the compounds in the ecstasy alternative "EASE".
Party pill industry calls for more regulation.
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) today called on the Minister for Drug Policy, Hon Jim Anderton, to introduce further regulations to make party pills even safer.
Party pills: BZP safety review.
“There is no information available anywhere in the world on exactly what BZP does.” This statement is only partially correct. Certainly BZP has not been subjected to full clinical trials as would be required for a new medicinal product, and the information that is available is not as complete as we would like. However there is some limited information available on both the pharmacology and toxicology of BZP.
Safer alternatives lead to reduced demand .
The industry supplying safer legal alternatives to illegal drugs today welcomed the release of new research which it said points to a reducing demand for methamphetamine.
for BZP ban misses the point.
A suggestion from some Canterbury health workers
that BZP-based party pills should be banned would create many problems
and solve none, according to drug policy advocate Matt Bowden...
Drug users deserve jobs too.
A New Zealand advocate for sensible drug policy today said it was ridiculous to deny people employment on the basis of whether they had used recreational substances on the weekend.
say party pills reducing demand for ecstacy
A senior policeman pointed out that demand for
illegal drugs was being reduced by availability of safe legal party
pills, evidencing the effectiveness of the solution, recreational
drugs other than alcohol are being used across the board by New
Zealanders. Politicians, the police and increasingly the community
are becoming aware that providing treatment facilities and options,
and ensuring safety, are much more effective solutions than persecution
Police say party pills reducing demand for ecstasy.
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) today welcomed the comment from the head of the New Plymouth CIB, Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Coward, that the use of ecstasy had dropped with the increased availability of party pills.
Industry welcomes legal ‘party pill’ protections
STANZ welcome the new Misuse of Drugs Amendment
Bill, which was passed under urgency in Parliament today, for the
first time giving New Zealand legislation for "restricted substances"
making them R18 and with provision for regulation around manufacture
and marketing of BZP "party pills." “This Bill represents
the most sensible approach to drug policy and harm minimisation
in decades. It is an example to the rest of the world of a new,
much more effective and evidence-based approach to drug policy than
the ‘war on drugs’.
Misuse Of Drugs Amendment Bill Welcomed
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand
(STANZ) today welcomed the second reading of the Misuse of Drugs
Amendment Bill in Parliament, saying the Bill was a good example
of evidence-based policy development.
Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill get Industry Support
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand
(STANZ) today welcomed a Health Select Committee recommendation
for an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act that will restrict the
sale of substances that have low level psychoactive effects. STANZ
spokesperson Matt Bowden said the late amendment to the Bill included
many of the safeguards that the sector had requested, but the industry
was wary of the impact of the changes and how the practicalities
would be worked out during the transitional period.
Illegal ephedrine the culprit in drug death
The illegal drug ephedrine was the culprit in
the tragic death of a young man in Hawera, not conventional BZP-based
party pills, as is being reported.The
Social Tonics Association of New Zealand today said ephedrine has
been banned for use in New Zealand since 1998, and has been implicated
in a number of deaths around the world.
legislation on party pills under attack – from within.
"5 years after the introduction of BZP
based pills in NZ, and just two weeks before the Health Select Committee
is due to report back to the Minister for Drug Policy, Hon Jim Anderton,
on regulating party pills, the NZ Food Safety Authority starts offering
an opinion that BZP pills are not currently legal. STANZ suggests
that NZFSA should back off and establishes a legal defense fund
to keep the parliamentary process on track."
claim absolute nonsense.
A NZ agency repeat USA DEA fudged evidence overestimating
potency of BZP by up to 40,000%. STANZ point out that USA DEA made
their decisions on faulty evidence,
and provide proof.
BZP claim nonsense.
The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) today criticised the Institute of Environmental Health for repeating grossly incorrect claims about the strength of BZP.
BZP drink withdrawn from dairies.
London Underground agree to withdraw the BZP drink Ammo from dairies
after a complaint that children are confusing it with soft drinks,
but will keep selling it in adult retailers. STANZ point out that
new legislation would fix many of these problems.
Evidence that party pills are not a problem.
Evidence that party pills are not a problem The Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) will this afternoon demonstrate to the Health Select Committee in Auckland that ‘party pills’ are not
Social tonics industry welcomes regulation.
Social tonics industry welcomes regulation, clamps down on irresponsible players Members of the Social Tonics Association of New Zealand (STANZ) today welcomed the Government’s move to regulate the sale of energy pills as a timely and sensible step.
will keep people safe, alive.
STANZ congratulate the government on their evidence based decision
to introduce a new bill allowing safe drug alternatives to be sold
to adults. A milestone in progressive drug policy.
Tonics industry launch.
STANZ announce their intention to launch a Code of Practice, and
Matt calls for public submissions on how Industry should be run.
decision based on evidence.
NZ’s Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs make the decision
that as social tonics containing BZP and TFMPP have been safely
used for 4 years with no ill effects, that instead of prohibiting
them, a new category should be created for safe substances.
It is with deep regret that we announce
the passing on of one of our beloved senior advisors, Doctor Steve
worked with Stargate and AngelCare teams as a Clinical Director
and Senior Harm Reduction consultant and passed away peacefully
on 28th March 2006 following complications from a head injury
sustained in a car crash some years earlier.
The world is all the better for those rare, selfless
people with both the ability and the willingness to connect with
and help other people who are in despair or who have hit rock
These counsellors, clinicians and treatment specialists
dedicate their lives to saving and restoring the lives of others.
They are true heroes of our communities and it is with terrible
sadness that we mark the passing of one of the finest.
Dr Steve Miller was a Senior Lecturer at Auckland
Institute of Technology and a Head of Section at Massey University
where he developed the mental health component of the first nursing
degree syllabus at a New Zealand technical institute. Steve developed
many training manuals for nursing and mental health which are
still in use today.
Steve’s calm and compassionate nature allowed
him to connect with people from all walks of life and put them
at ease. Steve’s unique ability to foster trust in others
was critical to his counselling success, particularly in the fields
of addiction and mental health.
I first met Steve after researching nutritional
supplements to restore the body’s homeostasis after drug
usage and was surprised to learn that Steve had carried out work
in this area and was now living in New Zealand, working as a Psychologist.
He took a personal interest in our vision to deliver drug treatment,
first aid and counselling services into nightclubs and dance parties,
and in developing safer alternatives as part of a treatment program.
It brought me great joy to see Steve, an American
born Kiwi, attending some of the dance music festivals here -
always holding a crowd, regaling today's young people with tales
of the Woodstock Festival – the ultimate dance party of
his own youth - which helped him establish an instant rapport.
Steve has a strong personal mana, or presence. Everybody
listened when he spoke, and he was able to exert considerable
influence on today's youth.
Steve was particularly interested in what Stargate
was trying to do in the area of minimising drug-related harm and
breaking addictions, and over time his teachings came to have
a profound influence on the Stargate philosophy.
Steve played a critical role in working with the
Stargate team in the development of safer alternatives and treatment
protocols for drug users and addicts. He became a driving force
behind the AngelCare Charitable Trust which, through its dance-party
presence, has saved lives and made a difference to many young
At all times Steve’s approach was driven by
empathy, compassion and an absolute refusal to pass judgement.
Steve pioneered significant research into treating
methamphetamine users through the use of nutritional biochemistry
to restore their homeostasis while in Hawaii. Between 1985 and
1990, the time of a crystal methamphetamine, crack and cocaine
epidemic in Hawaii, Steve ran a crisis response team, dealing
with an avalanche of drug-related mental heath crises –
threatened suicides, overdoses, psychoses.
This experience abroad would stand him in good stead
for the arrival of our own crystal methamphetamine problem. In
New Zealand he was at the front line of the ‘P epidemic’.
In his own time he frequently staffed Stargate’s ‘Stop
P’ 0800 counselling helpline for people trying to break
It was not uncommon for Steve, on a completely voluntary
basis, to take calls through this service and talk to various
people with various addictions for up to 24 hours. It was a service
he actively promoted to doctors and health professionals across
During his research in Hawaii, Steve found that
there were simple ways to reduce some of the suffering for methamphetamine
users through nutritional supplementation. We're now carrying
on that work.
Steve was particularly unusual in that his rare
ability to connect meaningfully with all kinds people was supported
by his comprehensive professional qualifications.
Steve graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
from New York University and a Master of Science in Nursing and
PhD in Psychology from Kennedy Western University in California.
Steve got full funding for his PhD work as a member of a State-wide
mobile mental health crisis response team.
Steve first arrived in New Zealand in 1990 and immediately
went about earning the respect of his peers and colleagues. He
was elected Vice-President and Counsellor of the New Zealand Branch
of the Australia and New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses
from 1995 to 1997 and appointed Fellow of the Australia and New
Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses in 1996.
Steve was appointed as the first New Zealand member
to the editorial staff of the Australia and New Zealand Journal
of Mental Health Nursing between 1996 and 2000 and was listed
in the International Directory of Distinguished Leadership (3rd
Ed) for Contributions in Program Development for Obsessive Compulsive
Disorders and Addictions.
Steve was awarded two service medals by the State
of Hawaii in 1997 and 1998; three Service Awards by the University
of Hawaii (1987,1988 and 1989) for Service to the people of Hawaii.
Steve was also presented with an Adult Literacy Award for initiating
an Adult Literacy Programme at Hawaii State Hospital in 1989.
Over the last six or so years Steve was dedicating
increasing amounts of his professional energy to working with
at-risk youths and adolescents – in counselling, habilitation,
advocacy and trying to keep young people out of the justice system.
At all times over his esteemed professional career
he was committed to one simple goal – helping other people.
We were so fortunate to have Steve’s
support, enthusiasm and professional expertise behind what Stargate
and the AngelCare Trust are trying to achieve. It breaks our hearts
to lose our dear friend and mentor, but Steve’s philosophy,
and his compassion, will continue to underpin all that we do.
Stargate International today reaffirmed its total
commitment to minimizing all drug related harm.
Stargate Founder and Director, Matt Bowden, said
he was taking the opportunity to clarify this commitment following
public suggestions from a Member of Parliament that his motivation
was financial rather than principled.
“Stargate International was established by
me as a vehicle to minimize all drug related harm following the
drug-related deaths of members of my own family.
Mr Bowden said while Stargate had pioneered legal
party pills as an alternative to speed and ecstasy, Stargate was
currently working on a range of cutting edge technologies to help
beat addictions to a range of illegal drugs including heroin,
cocaine and alcohol.
He said Stargate’s success in working in partnership
with Government and the party pill industry in developing the
Misuse of Drugs Act Amendment Bill highlighted Stargate’s
commitment to public health.
“The regulatory regime around BZP, which was
created by Government with the strong support of the industry,
has shown that New Zealand can lead the world in developing and
introducing common-sense harm minimization solutions.
“This approach is being noted around the world.
It will lead to further study of harm minimisation and the development
of more solutions which will help save more lives,” he said.
“There is a continuum of drug users out there
from dabblers to hedonists to those who’ve had enough and
want to get off the boat,” said Mr Bowden.
“Stargate’s vision is the same as it
has always been - to discourage dabbling, to develop safer, legal
alternatives for those who are not going to stop, and to develop
and bring to market rescue and recovery agents to restore the
health of those who’ve gone too far.”
Stargate’s STOP P product is one such harm
STOP P has positive reports from treatment experts
who were encouraged with the results it was achieving.
“It was encouraging to see the number of people
who found their personality and moods starting to stabilise on
STOP P after the horror of methamphetamine use. This treatment
product, combined with the thousands of people who quit P when
party pills hit the market show the value of new harm minimization
technology,” said Mr Bowden.
“STOP P has shown us that the future for Stargate
lies in further refining our technology to the point where we
can start formal clinical trials. I think New Zealand will be
the international leader in some exciting new developments over
the coming months and years.”
Mr Bowden said he found the suggestion from profile-seeking
politicians that he was motivated by profit, to be offensive.
“The Stargate business model is not profit
driven, but it is economically sustainable. We take market share
away from illegal drugs and invest heavily in research at the
cutting edge of natural pharmacology.
“I’m not driven by money, I’m
committed to success. For me, success means saving lives,”
“International Experts advised the UN some
time ago that terrorism and organized crime is funded by prohibition
policies which deal with drug issues as criminal, rather than
health issues. Something is wrong with a country that closes down
rehabilitation centres and builds more prisons. The ‘tough
on drugs’ rhetoric doesn’t work for your average addict
or user but organized criminals make a killing. Policy makers
need to acknowledge this truth.”
Mr Bowden said it was particularly heartening to see New Zealand
have a specific Minister for Drug Policy, and for that Minister
to be advised by a committee of independent expert scientists.
“The current Minister for Drug Policy, Hon
Jim Anderton, has committed to basing policy on this independent
expert advice. What this means is that policy is based on what
will best work, rather than if it is politically saleable.
“This approach is leading the rest of
the world in responsible, evidence-based drug policy. This approach
will continue to save lives, even if it does not suit all political
Mr Bowden said it was time for an evidence-based
approach to work-place drug testing which was based on actual
risk, rather than stereotypes. “Many kiwis like to work
hard and party hard. Sometimes we use alcohol, sometimes we use
other substances. Practically every society of humans has done
this since the beginning of time. “The issue for employers
must be on whether or not the employee is impaired from doing
their job while they are on duty. If there is no evidence of impairment
then is it really an employer’s business what the employees
do in their spare time?”
Mr Bowden said with traces of cannabis existing
in the body for up to three months there is often an enormous
gap between the presence of drugs and evidence of impairment.
He said employers need to think very carefully about where drug
testing could take them.
“More than half of adult New Zealanders have used cannabis
at some time or another. That’s half of all adult New Zealanders
who could potentially fail a drug test and be denied employment,
despite posing no risk to anyone. ”We all know now that
it’s not just the poor people that choose to use drugs.
Drug use is common across every sector of society.”
Mr Bowden said recreational substance use today
was much like homosexuality 20 years ago in terms of stigma. “When
these numbers of people are involved, even if we don’t approve
of the morality, we’re compromising basic tenets of equality
by discriminating against users of one particular substance over
another – in many cases, for no good reason,” he said.
“Employers should concentrate on testing the
ability of an employee to carry out their job safely rather than
focusing on the remains of the weekend in their bloodstreams.
5 October 2005
The ‘just say no’ approach
to drug issues has never worked and probably never will, according
to an advocate of the harm minimisation approach to drug use.
Matt Bowden of Stargate International, an organisation
dedicated to helping reduce the harm caused by the use of both
legal and illegal drugs, said the goal of any approach to drug
issues must be keeping people alive, rather than compliant.
“I support the sentiment in recent comments
by the Wellington Coroner, but not the message. Fear-based drug
education has been shown to spark curiosity in inquiring minds
and has actually been shown to increase demand.
“The facts show that those countries which
are ‘toughest’ on drugs end up doing the most harm
to their people,” he said. The principle of harm minimization
is that where people will use drugs, every effort should be made
either to provide safer alternatives or to ensure that harms associated
with drug use are reduced as far as possible.
Mr Bowden said harm minimisation is the international
standard promoted by the World Health Organisation in most effectively
approaching and dealing with drug use. “I would really like
to see drug use destigmatised and an environment created where
we can openly and honestly discuss drug use, like any other activity.
Recent ‘celebrity drug busts’ have helped to show
that all sectors of society use drugs, yet nobody is able to talk
about it for fear of arrest.
“If New Zealand is genuinely committed to minimising drug
related harm it should look at the threat of legal sanction which
was preventing people with problems from coming forward to seek
“Drug laws, as they are currently enforced, are without
doubt the greatest harm associated
with drug use.”
Mr Bowden said since the beginning of human history,
people have used recreational substances in a social setting,
and probably always would. “It is naïve to think we
are going to stop people from using drugs. The United States’
‘War on Drugs’ is the best possible evidence of this.”
Mr Bowden said recent moves by the Government to
keep BZP-based party pills on the market, but place controls around
them, was an excellent example of harm minimization in practice.
“There is no doubt that in making safer legal alternatives,
this move has saved lives. Senior police officers have noted that
through the increased availability of legal party pills, there
has been a corresponding decrease in the use of illegal drugs.”
Mr Bowden said young people in particular were very
cynical about being told not to use one substance or another when
cigarettes and alcohol – arguably the two most dangerous
drugs on the planet – were actively promoted and sold around
He said that for as long as there is a ‘war
on drugs’ mentality, adolescent substance use will remain
a primary method of rebellion and that substance use tended to
increase in harsher, more punitive environments. “The latest
research from Australia, for example, shows that Government is
one of the least trusted sources of information about drugs, as
a result of decades of fear -based drug education.
“Thankfully the New Zealand Government is
finally taking an evidence-based approach to this issue and is
allowing an expert panel to make decisions on what will actually