Harman Patil (Editor)

Misuse of Drugs Act 1975

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Misuse of Drugs Act 1975

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.


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. Most of the commonly controlled substances, such as opium, cocaine and cannabis, were first classified in 1921 during the International Opium Conference.

During this conference, the United States were strongly advocating for the banning of these substances unless a scientific or medical use became apparent. 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. However, the United States did not sign the treaty.

Class A

First Schedule: Very high risk of harm and illegal:

  • LSD
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Psilocin and psilocybin
  • Class B

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

  • cannabis (hashish, cannabis oil, or other preparation)
  • Morphine
  • Hydromorphone
  • Pethidine
  • Amphetamine
  • MDMA (ecstasy)
  • Class C

    Third Schedule: Moderate risk of harm:

  • Cannabis (plant, leaf, fruit or seeds)
  • Barbiturates1 (phenobarbital, barbital, etc.)
  • Benzodiazepines2 (diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, nitrazepam, etc.)
  • ^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

    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".


    Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 Wikipedia

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