News story

Landmark law to tackle psychoactive substances passed

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 receives Royal Assent


A landmark Bill to end the trade in harmful psychoactive substances and protect young people in the UK from the risks posed by these drugs received Royal Assent today.

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 will prohibit the production, supply and importation of these potentially dangerous drugs.

Last year there were 129 deaths in England, Scotland and Wales and the Act aims to protect people from the harms caused by these often untested and unknown psychoactive substances.

The new legislation will give police and other law enforcement agencies greater powers to tackle the reckless trade in psychoactive substances, and will see offenders face up to seven years in prison.

Having undergone extensive Parliamentary and public scrutiny, the Psychoactive Substances Act is due to be implemented from spring this year.

Minister for Preventing Abuse and Exploitation Karen Bradley said:

We cannot, and should not, tolerate the open sale on our high streets and over the internet of these potentially harmful substances. That’s why we are imposing a blanket ban.

This landmark Psychoactive Substances Act will fundamentally change the way we tackle these drugs and put an end to unscrupulous suppliers profiting from their trade. Our message is clear: offenders will face up to seven years in prison.

But we know that legislation is not the silver bullet, and we continue to take action across education, prevention, treatment and recovery in order to reduce harmful drug use.

The National Crime Agency will continue working with the online industry and international partners to close websites selling controlled psychoactive substances in the UK and tackle the associated organised crime.

Published 28 January 2016