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Ban on NBOMe and benzofurans comes into force

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Drugs order also controls tramadol as a Class C substance and upgrades ketamine to Class B

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A dangerous group of drugs that puts users at a high risk of overdose was permanently banned today (Tuesday 10 June).

NBOMe compounds are highly potent hallucinogens similar to LSD, with side effects including increased heart rate, high blood pressure and paranoia.

From today, NBOMe substances are permanently controlled as Class A under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

That means supplying NBOMe now carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and possession risks a penalty of up to seven years in jail.

Other drugs affected by today’s order include benzofurans, which, like NBOMe, had been marketed as so-called “legal highs”.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said:

The coalition government is determined to clamp down on the reckless trade, in so-called ‘legal highs’, which has claimed the lives of far too many young people in our country.

The Coalition government has now permanently banned 350 substances previously sold as ‘legal highs’, including NBOMe and benzofurans.

I have also commissioned a review to consider how best we can combat this dangerous trade.

In June last year, NBOMe and benzofurans were placed under a 12-month temporary banning order to allow government experts to assess whether they should be permanently controlled.

After examining the drugs, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs advised the government to control them permanently, which ministers accepted.

Benzofurans are now Class B drugs, with supply offences punishable by a custodial sentence of up to 14 years and possession carrying a maximum prison term of five years.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 controls drugs that are “dangerous or otherwise harmful”, primarily under a three-tier system of classification (Classes A, B and C).

Ketamine was today upgraded from a Class C to B drug and the painkiller tramadol has been controlled as a Class C substance.

Published 10 June 2014