NSW leads charge against synthetic drugs after teen dies

The teenager purchased a synthetic version of LSD on the internet. Photo / File
The teenager purchased a synthetic version of LSD on the internet. Photo / File

NSW is leading the charge against synthetic drugs, declaring a statewide ban and calling for the products to be outlawed across the country.

The move comes after Sydney teenager Henry Kwan fell to his death from the balcony of his home after taking a synthetic version of LSD bought on the internet and thinking he could fly.

Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts says NSW retailers who breach the 90-day interim ban on selling 18 synthetic drugs announced on Sunday will face fines of up to AU $1.1 million.

Products with names like Kronic, Circus Deluxe, Vortex Inferno and Montana Madness that mimic the effects of cannabis, cocaine and hallucinogens will be targeted.

"This week we'll be undertaking the largest operation ever seen in the commonwealth with respect to the crackdown on retailers selling these products that cause harm, and in some cases, death," Mr Roberts told reporters on Sunday.

He said he would write to federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek and Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury seeking their support for a permanent ban once the interim period was up.

Victorian Crime Prevention Minister Edward O'Donohue said the state was eager to talk with NSW and the federal government on expanding the ban.

"The Victorian government is willing to engage with the federal government to address and work on some of those issues," he told reporters.

The NSW ban has been welcomed by Henry's father, Stephen Kwan.

"Although it is the death of my son, it raised interest and pressured the government and it will benefit a lot of families and a lot of young kids in the future," he told AAP.

But John Rogerson of the Australian Drug Foundation says authorities can't ban their way out of the issue.

"Let's treat the synthetic drug issue like we would treat any food or any medicine and get the onus of proof back on the producers to ensure these products are safe," he said.

The synthetic drug industry is worth AU $700 million nationally, Fair Trading assistant commissioner Robert Vellar said.

-AAP

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