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Psychoactive Substances Expert Advisory Committee (PSEAC)

The purpose of The Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 is to regulate the availability of psychoactive substances in New Zealand to protect the health of, and minimise harm to, individuals who use psychoactive substances.

The Psychoactive Substances Expert Advisory Committee (PSEAC) was established in February 2014 under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 to provide expert advice to the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority regarding safety issues around proposed psychoactive products.

The role of the PSEAC is:

  • to evaluate, with regard to the results of trials, psychoactive products to assess whether they should be approved for use by individuals; and
  • to advise the Authority about whether a psychoactive product should or should not be approved for use by individuals; and
  • to increase public awareness of the advisory committee's work in relation to psychoactive substances, for example, by the timely release of papers, reports, and recommendations

The PSEAC may comprise up to 6 members who between them must have appropriate expertise in the following:

  • pharmacology
  • toxicology
  • neurosciences
  • medicine
  • any other areas the Authority considers relevant.

 The current members of the PSEAC are:

  • Dr Richard Robson B Pharm, MBChB, FRACP, PhD
  • Dr Peter Larsen BSc, PhD
  • Dr Shanika Perera MBChB, MPH, FAFPHM
  • Dr Malcolm Tingle BSc (Hons), PhD
  • Dr Susan Schenk BSc, MS, PhD

Evaluation Process

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 requires that when evaluating psychoactive products, the PSEAC must have regard to:

  • the specific effects of the product, including pharmacological, psychoactive, and toxicological effects
  • the risks, if any, to public health
  • the potential for use of the product to cause death
  • the potential for the product to create physical or psychological dependence
  • the likelihood of misuse of the product
  • the potential appeal of the product to vulnerable populations
  • any other matters that the Authority considers relevant

More information on the criteria for the evaluation process and the role of the PSEAC can be found in sections 11 and 12 of the Act. A link to the Psychoactive Substances Act is below:

Psychoactive Substances Act 2013