Those caught in possession of Naphyrone, often advertised as NRG1, face a maximum of five years in prison alongside an unlimited fine.
Naphyrone and its related compounds will become Class B drugs tomorrow, the crime prevention minister, James Brokenshire, has announced.
The drug, which has no known legitimate use, will be banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The legislation includes a generic definition to prevent unscrupulous drug manufacturers tweaking the chemical structure in an attempt to get around the law.
Mr Brokenshire said: ‘The government is deeply concerned about the use of ‘legal highs’ which is why we took swift action to ban this new drug.
‘There is also clear evidence that just because a substance advertised as a “legal high” does not mean this is the case. Anyone buying a “legal high” is putting their health at risk and could be committing a criminal offence.’
Class B drugs carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison for possession and 14 years in prison for supply, alongside an unlimited fine.
The import of naphyrone and its related compounds have already been banned and the UK Border Agency has detained 3.5 kg of the suspected substances since the ban came into force on 7 July.
The control of these substances follows advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and it continues to look at the use of so-called legal highs as a priority.