The Ashburton Guardian. Magna et Vertas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1890. SALE OF POISONS.
At a recent inquest held m Duneclin on the body of a man who died through taking the poison known as " Rough on Rats," the jury added a rider to their verdict urging the State to enforce stringent measures to regulate the sale of this deadly medical compound. One of the witnesses, a medical gentleman, called attention to the alarming number of suicides and accidental deaths that yearly occur m the colony through the almost unrestricted sale of this poison, and several of the jury were emphatic m expressing the opinion that greater caution should be exercised by chemists and others. The subject, if we remember correctly, came before the House a few years back, and the compound known as '• Rough on Rats ', was included m the ". Sale of Poisons Act." This precaution should have proved sufficient to minimise the evils resulting from the hapazard sale of a destructive poison ; but it has not done so. There are, apparently, as many human deaths now from this cause as ever, and this fact should go to convince the authorities that the stringent provisions of the "Sale of Poisons Act, 1871," are evaded by the sellers. We would therefore urge upon the police authorities throughout the colony to causesearching inquiries to be instituted as to where and under what circumstances " Rough on Rats" was procured by persons who put an end to their existence by this means. It is not fair to chemists and druggists who exercise the greatest caution m the dispensing of poison that a reflection should rest upon the whole body when there are doubtless only a few isolated offenders. It is to the interests of chemists to afford the police authorities every assistance m sheeting home to offenders the consequences of any breach of the regulations m this particular, and thus cause a warning to be given to others. A substantial penalty administered m one or two cases, and published throughout the colony through the medium of the Press, would, Aye doubt not, act as a wholesome deterrent to careless dispensers who do not seem to exercise the same prf«aution m dispensing "Rough on Rats "as other poison;?. It might also be advisable for coroners and juries to insist that the police, m cases of accidental or suicidal poisoning, should come prepared with the fullest evidence as to the circumstances under which the fatal drugs have been procured. A closer investigation and inquiry on the part of the police among the vendors of poisons would no doubt cause greater caution to be exercised m all cases where poisons are dispensed otherwise than when prescribed by a duly qualified medical practioner. In fact, too much scrutiny and inquiry cannot take place m connection with the dispensing of poisons generally, and " Rough on Rats" m particular. If the sale of the latter cannot be regulated better than at present it behoves the Governments of the several colonies to practically prohibit its farther importation by the imposition of prohibitive duties.