This follows recommendations from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) that showed that the potent substance - often labelled ‘100 per cent legal’ or ‘plant food’ - has considerable potential for misuse and accidental overdose.
Likely harms include adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels, hyperthermia, dependence and psychiatric effects.
Read the full press release here.
Illegal as soon as possible
Minister for crime prevention James Brokenshire said: ‘I am deeply concerned about the use of this potentially dangerous “legal high” and I want to make it illegal as soon as possible.
‘We have already taken action to ban its import into the UK and we will continue to target those unscrupulous dealers who try to bring these substances onto our streets.
‘I also want to send a clear message to anyone considering buying a “legal high” - just because they are advertised as “legal” does not mean that they are safe and they may not be legal. You are putting your health at risk and could be committing a criminal offence.’
Today the government laid a parliamentary order, and legislation will follow at the earliest opportunity. This will include a generic definition to prevent drug manufacturers tweaking the chemical structure in an attempt to get around the law.
Ban at the border
Meanwhile, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is now able to seize and destroy these substances at the border. Following a similar ban on mephedrone and related compounds in March 2010 UKBA has already prevented more than 115kg of suspected mephedrone reaching UK streets.