News story

ACMD recommends ban for two legal highs linked to deaths

TWO lethal ‘legal highs’ should be controlled as class A substances, recommends the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).


The stimulant compound drug 4,4’-DMAR, which is also known by the street name Serotoni, has been linked to 37 deaths in the UK - mostly in Northern Ireland. It is usually bought in tablet or powder form, and samples have also shown it being mixed with other drugs such as mephedrone and synthetic cannabinoids.

MT-45, a synthetic opioid, is not currently available in the UK; however, like other opioids it can suppress respiratory function and presents a potentially lethal hazard. Deaths in Europe and the United States have been connected to MT-45. Users have also experienced hearing loss, breathing problems and fallen into comas.

Both MT-45 and 4,4’-DMAR have recently been subjected to risk assessments by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

The Council is now recommending that both drugs should be permanently banned as Class A substances and that, as neither of these substances have any known legitimate medical use, they should be scheduled under Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations.

Professor Les Iversen, chair of the ACMD, said:

4,4’-DMAR is a lethal stimulant drug ,closely related to the banned substance Aminorex.

We already know opioid use can lead to addiction, acquisitive crime, family disruption and loss of employment. These could all be potential consequences if MT-45 becomes widely used in the UK. The ACMD is recommending the control of MT-45 based on its potential to cause significant harm in the UK.

Both of these substances pose serious dangers and we are advising they should be banned in the UK.

The ACMD has today published both its reports on MT-45 and 4,4’-DMAR, which will now be considered by the Home Office.

Published 14 November 2014