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April 9, 2003

AUSTRALIA: “Opium” drink under investigation

An energy drink which contains opium poppy seeds is being investigated by Australian health authorities. The Naughty Boy drink brand, being promoted as a non-alcoholic drink with nutrients for a safe and legal high, is scheduled to hit shops soon.

An energy drink which contains opium poppy seeds is being investigated by Australian health authorities. The Naughty Boy drink brand, being promoted as a non-alcoholic drink with nutrients for a safe and legal high, is scheduled to hit shops soon.

While its ingredients comply with regulations, authorities are concerned about the fact that it is being marketed as containing opium. The brand’s website carries the slogan “Energy with Opium” though it does not actually contain the drug which would be illegal. The office of Federal Health Minister, Kay Patterson, confirmed that Naughty Boy was being investigated for marketing the drink in a way which links it to drug use.

“While the food standards permit the addition of poppy seeds to food, it clearly prohibits opium being added,” a ministerial spokesman said. “The Naughty Boy product displays the word Opium in large letters.” The spokesman added that Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) had asked the Victorian Department of Human Services to take enforcement action.

The brandowners defended the brand which they said was designed as a health product but conceded that the offending advertising might have to be changed. “We wanted a drink to enliven the mind,” said joint-founder, Matthew Shea. “It’s totally legal and we have complied with all the laws. It’s probably the use of the word opium that has got people’s attention. Perhaps that’s what we need to change. We are not out there to flout any laws.”

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