Import & Export Drug Regs Amended

On 21 February 2024, the Customs Legislation Amendment Regulations 2024 came into effect. The Australian Border Force (ABF) has issued Australian Customs Notice No. 2024/06: “Prohibited Exports and Imports Regulations Amendments – Drugs.”

Australia is a signatory to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988.

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs has included several new substances for control under these Conventions and, as a signatory, Australia is obliged to impose import and export controls on the new substances.

The Prohibited Imports Regulations now include:

ADB-BUTINACA – (also known as ADMB-BINACA using EMCDDA naming standards) is a synthetic cannabinoid compound which has been sold as a designer drug.

Alpha-PiHP – (also known as α-PiHP orα-PHiP) is a stimulant drug of the cathinone class that has been sold online as a designer drug. It displays psychostimulant properties and is likely to show abuse – it has a high potency as an inhibitor of the dopamine transporter.

Etazene – has been detected in seized material as a white-to-beige powder usually administered nasally (snorting). It has also been detected in liquid forms as well as in “m30” pills.

Etonitazepyne – a benzimidazole derivative with potent opioid effects which has been sold over the internet as a designer drug and linked to numerous cases of overdose.

2-Methyl AP-237 -is classified as a synthetic opioid. It is an analogue of bucinnazine (AP-237), an opioid analgesic drug that had been widely used in China to treat pain in cancer patients and later synthesised for recreational use.

Protonitazene – a benzimidazole derivative with potent opioid effects which has been sold over the internet as a designer drug since 2019. Originally developed by a Swiss pharmaceutical co as an alternative to morphine, it was never adopted due to severe side effects. See this alert: Yellow powder containing ‘protonitazene’ has been mis-sold as ketamine in Melbourne.

The Prohibited Exports Regulations include all six items above, plus one more:

3-Methylmethcathinone, also known as 3-MMC and metaphedrone is a designer drug that first appeared in Sweden. 3-MMC has shown up on the recreational drug market following the control in many countries of the related compound mephedrone. It is usually found in powder form. There is no known or reported medical use of 3-MMC and it sometimes gets described as a ‘research chemical.’

The ABF update ensures Australia’s continuing compliance with these Conventions by adding the newly scheduled substances to Schedule 8 of the Prohibited Export Regulations and Schedule 4 of the Prohibited Import Regulations.

Also see our recent related article, New Customs Regulations on Drugs.

For more information about Customs regulations, contact us here at Colless Young. As licensed Customs Brokers and International Freight Forwarders, we offer you correct, professional advice on your import and export cargo, by air or sea. We are based in Brisbane and handle your logistics needs, including quarantine treatments, warehousing and trucking – at all major Australian ports and airports.