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Matt Bowden: History Repeats Itself As Kiwis Want To Get Higher

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Matt Bowden
Matt Bowden

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.

"It is a lack of sensible and proactive regulation that leads to dosage escalation. This overdose was allowed to occur because the government is not using the regulations that have been made available to it, to control dosage and keep things safe. Industry and the Ministry of Health have spent ten years developing laws and regulations together, to set dosage limits with these sorts of products, and those regulations are not being applied.

"This is exactly the same situation that we faced a few years ago when the party pill industry set standards and maximum dosages for BZP pills. The industry body and the Ministry of Health agreed that having the government regulate the maximum dosage was a sensible idea, but the Minster ignored the advice. Some cowboy operators in Christchurch produced pills that were far too strong and people got sick as a result. These problems could have been easily and safely avoided."

The report in New Zealand Medical Journal authored by Dr. Gee stated that the pills purchased in Christchurch had 278mg per capsule of DMAA. "We have asked government to set a maximum level of 75mg DMAA per pill, and we want it to be mandatory that customers be advised at the point of sale not to combine the products with any other drugs or supplements," said Mr Bowden. "These pills were nearly four times the recommended strength and the patient had also taken other stimulant pills and alcohol on top which is also not recommended."

"We have the same situation again where DMAA is an ingredient used safely in energy products all around the world, it has been used safely by thousands of people in New Zealand for a few years, we have spent ten years building up a regulatory structure which makes it easy for government to regulate the industry but those tools are not being used, we would like to know why? Instead the government simply keeps banning substances, and people will always simply find something else, legal or otherwise."

"New Zealand leads the world in sensible drug policies with our category of safer drug alternatives available to adults only," said Mr Bowden. "We recognise and respect that people want to get high, and that different people do it differently, now we need to apply those regulations and move forward."

Mr Bowden's Stargate International were previously in the news for setting up a private club for ecstasy users wanting to make a change, today Stargate International focuses research on detoxification while Matt focuses on psychedelic rock music. "I propose we set up clubs that assist patrons to detoxify and to clean themselves up to experience a natural high. We do have the technology to do that and I am happy to discuss this further. I am demonstrating something like what I would like to see in my rock video 'Higher' which you can preview today on YouTube; it's the most effective way for me to communicate what I have to say."

The video features Outrageous Fortune actor Wesley Dowdell and Jermaine Leef from JGeek and the Geeks who recently set records for fastest trending NZ music video with their "Maori Boy" song.

"Sex drugs and rock 'n' roll are not going away, they are part of our DNA, we just need to do them all safely and responsibly."

Matt Bowden is recognised as inventor of party pills, and is an established rock musician.

The BZP party pills that were produced by Matt's organisation were low-dose products, which did not cause any hospital admissions when used as directed. They were quite different to the "cheap overdose" pills which caused problems a few years ago in Christchurch.

Over an 8.5 year period, over 26 million pills were consumed by 400,000 New Zealanders on 10.5 million occasions without any recorded deaths or significant lasting injuries caused by consumption of the pills.

There were no recorded adverse events caused by consumers using the pills as directed.

Matt successfully campaigned for a new category in the Misuse of Drugs Act that allowed for low-risk drug alternatives to be regulated by the government for sale to adult drug users only, to reduce demand for more dangerous substances.

The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Act initiated by Matt's campaigning was brought into law in 2008, and subsequent modifications to the law allow for limits to be placed on the dosage of Restricted Substances.

This pragmatic approach to drug policy is being picked up by Drug Policy Analysts internationally and the New Zealand approach is being recommended to other nations.

Matt has traveled to a number of countries meeting with politicians and drug policy experts.

Matt signaled some time ago that he would begin to use the rock music format for future public communications strategy.

A preview of the video featuring Outrageous Fortune's Wesley Dowdell (Aaron Spiller) and "Maori Boy" YouTube pop sensation Jgeek (Jermaine Leef) is available at http://www.youtube.com/mattbowden

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