Australia’s adults-only association has called on Queensland police to quickly establish whether the use of synthetic cannabinoids was responsible for the deaths of two Queensland men yesterday or whether there were other factors involved. Eros Social Tonics Coordinator, Nick Wallis said that media conjecture on the circumstantial evidence that was available, was not sufficient to establish a cause and effect situation.

“The Eros Association extends its condolences to the friends and family of the two men who were found dead on Wednesday but only an autopsy and a chemical analysis of drugs found at the scene will reveal the truth. No one should die from using a product they thought would get them high but there may well be other factors here aside from self-medication”, he said.

Mr Wallis said that if the deaths were found to be linked to the use of synthetic cannabinoids, then the Queensland government would have to shoulder most of the responsibility in that they have failed to provide the state with a regulatory scheme that keeps dangerous illicit drugs out of the marketplace.

“The Queensland government passed legislation in 2013 which they claimed would ban all synthetic cannabinoids, yet no prosecutions have been made that we are aware of using this legislation”, he said. “In 2012, we provided a submission to the Queensland government outlining the many and varied problems of the proposed legislation. We and several others who made similar points, including the Queensland Law Society, were ignored by the government who then passed this unworkable piece of legislation.”

“We have long argued that this problem will not go away by increasing prohibition laws and increasing the ‘tough on drugs’ rhetoric”, he said. “The fact is, these substances exist as a direct response to prohibition and more prohibition will only deliver more drugs into the community. It’s not rocket science.”

The Queensland government and other governments across the country need to start listening to the experts if they want to get on top of this issue. The Australian Science Media Centre had quoted Richard Kevin, a PhD student studying synthetic cannabinoids as saying, “Even when a specific synthetic drug is outlawed, or even an entire class of drugs, the molecular structure can often be ‘tweaked’ slightly so that the new compound falls outside of existing legislation. This results in a large variety of synthetic cannabinoids with largely unknown toxicity.” While Senior Australian National University Clinical Lecturer in Medicine, Dr David Caldicott, has called on governments to look for better solutions, “We need wittier and wiser responses to the problem of harm from drugs, if these deaths are not to become a more frequent occurrence in a generation of young Australians.”

Mr Wallis said Australian governments could not point to one successful outcome in their phoney ‘war on drugs’. “They cannot claim to be saving lives or decreasing the amount of dangerous drugs in the community”, he said. “Only a couple of years ago Queensland police discovered two men spraying weedicide onto lawn clippings and selling them. How do these new laws address this kind of behaviour? Last week a young person in the NT died from sniffing deodorant. If they were consistent in their approach they would ban deodorants but they don’t. It’s a mess. Queensland legislators have got no idea of how to solve these problems.”

They cannot claim that they have not been informed. The current Queensland government does not consult with experts and knowledgeable organisations in the pursuit of its ideological agenda on drugs. Their inability to engage has lead to more deaths with no solution in sight.

Regulation is the only way they will stop this chemical arms race. They have to face facts, do as New Zealand has done, talk to the people selling the substances and set up a regulatory scheme which legalises the proven non-harmful drugs and allow them to be sold to responsible adults.