The Misuse of Drugs (Classification and Presumption of Supply) Order 2022 (the Order) classifies or reclassifies 49 substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 (the Act). Cabinet has agreed to schedule these substances under the Act following recommendations from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD). The EACD regarded these 49 substances to pose a level of harm which did not align with their controls and restrictions under New Zealand legislation.
Unauthorised possession, manufacture, use, import, export and supply of these substances may be subject to penalties. Restrictions as either a Class A controlled drug, Class B controlled drug, Class C controlled drug, or precursor substance under the Act will apply on the commencement dates.
The commencement order bringing the classification or reclassification of these substances into force can be viewed on the New Zealand Legislation website.
Substances being scheduled under the Order include:
- synthetic cannabinoids
- fentanyl analogues
- synthetic opioids
- synthetic cathinones
- precursor substances
- prescription medicines.
The new classifications for 45 of the 49 substances in the Order will come into effect on 15 December 2022. The remaining 4 substances are being scheduled on the following dates:
- fentanyl will be up-scheduled to a Class B1 controlled drug on 1 July 2023
- zopiclone and zolpidem will be scheduled as Class C5 controlled drugs on 1 July 2023
- tramadol will be scheduled as a Class C2 controlled drug on 1 October 2023.
Misuse of Drugs (Fentanyl and Tramadol) Amendment Regulations 2022
The Misuse of Drugs (Fentanyl and Tramadol) Amendment Regulations 2022 (the Regulations) will be bought into force under the Order.
The Regulations will:
- exempt fentanyl from requiring ministerial approval in order to be prescribed, supplied and administered
- add tramadol to Schedule 1C of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977 so midwives can continue to prescribe tramadol (subject to controlled drug prescribing restrictions)
- exempt tramadol from being required to be stored in a controlled drug safe.