News story

'Legal highs' to be banned under temporary power

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

Ban on five substances will come into force at 00:01 on Friday 10 April for up to 12 months.

Five “legal highs” are set to be banned by the government.

The drugs will be made illegal from Friday 10 April for up to 12 months while the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) decides whether they should be permanently controlled.


The government accepted the ACMD’s advice to make a Temporary Class Drug Order (TCDO) on five compounds related to methylphenidate, a Class B drug, due to concerns about their misuse as new psychoactive substances (NPS).

Ethylphenidate, one of the drugs being banned, has emerged as an alternative to cocaine and is sold using the street names ‘Gogaine’ and ‘Burst’.

Users have been known to inject the drug, putting themselves at risk of blood-borne disease and infection.

To prevent users from switching to related drugs with similar harms, the ACMD recommended that the following four drugs are also banned: 3,4-Dichloromethylphenidate (‘3,4-DCMP’), Methylnaphthidate, Isopropylphenidate and Propylphenidate.


The TCDO was published today (8 April) and the substances become illegal at 00:01 on Friday.

Once the order is in force, anyone caught making, supplying or importing the drugs will face up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Police and border officials will be allowed to search or detain anyone they suspect of having the drugs and seize, keep or dispose of a substance they think is a temporary class drug.