Misuse of Drugs Act 1975

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Misuse of Drugs Act 1975
Coat of arms of New Zealand.svg
New Zealand Parliament
An Act to consolidate and amend the Narcotics Act 1965 and to make further provision for the prevention of misuse of drugs
Status: Current legislation

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is a New Zealand drug control law that classifies drugs into three classes, or schedules, based on their projected risk of serious harm of loss of life.[1]

The Controlled Substances Classification system has been around for decades but only in 2006 was benzylpiperazine was classified that a substance first became scheduled for health reasons.[citation needed] Most of the commonly controlled substances, such as opium, cocaine and cannabis, were first classified in 1921 during the International Opium Conference.[2]

During this conference, the United States were strongly advocating for the banning of these substances unless a scientific or medical use became apparent.[citation needed] New Zealand signed this treaty and its 37th Parliament went on to incorporate this law into the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, without any public review.[citation needed] However, the United States did not sign the treaty.

Class A[edit]

First Schedule: Very high risk of harm and illegal:

Class B[edit]

Second Schedule: Very high risk of harm and on prescription:

Class C[edit]

Third Schedule: Moderate risk of harm:

^Note 1 : Pentobarbital, secobarbital and amobarbital are subject to more legal restrictions and tougher penalties than are other Class C substances.

^Note 2 : Temazepam and flunitrazepam are subject to more legal restrictions and tougher penalties than are other Class C substances.

Fourth Schedule[edit]

Precursor substances.


The Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) makes scheduling decisions, based on scientific and medical evidence and/or international treaty obligations. New Zealand is a party to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

National Drug Policy New Zealand notes, "The Conventions place certain obligations on signatory countries. When the UN classifies (or re-classifies) a substance under one of the above Conventions, it requires signatory countries to amend their domestic legislation to ensure consistency with the UN's amendment. Accordingly, the impetus for some of the drugs to be considered by the EACD will originate from decisions made at the UN".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 No 116 (as at 01 December 2010), 3A Classification of drugs". New Zealand Legislation: Acts. Retrieved 16 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Cited in Mills “Colonial Africa and the international politics of cannabis” (2007), p. 166 – 168

External links[edit]