A number of so-called ‘legal highs’ will become illegal Class B drugs, the Home Office announced today.
Following advice from the government’s independent drug experts, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), new synthetic cannabinoids (such as those sold under the name ‘Black Mamba’) and methoxetamine (sold as Mexxy) and its related compounds will be classified under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
The decision comes days after the ACMD recommended banning the substances because of their health and social harms.
Minister for Crime Prevention Jeremy Browne said: ‘High quality scientific advice is vital to the government’s ongoing work to tackle harmful drug use. The independent advice we receive from the ACMD is critical to our evidence-based drugs policy.
‘The UK is addressing the harm caused by ‘legal highs’ by outlawing not just individual drugs, but whole families of related substances that have the potential to cause serious harm.
‘People who take ‘legal highs’ are taking serious risks with their lives because often they do not know what they are taking and the drugs may contain harmful substances.’
Since March this year, methoxetamine has been subject of the UK’s first temporary class drug order (TCDO) following advice from the ACMD. It will remain a temporary class drug until parliament approves its classification.
In its advice on methoxetamine the ACMD has indicated that the temporary ban may have had ‘real and immediate impact on tackling internet sales of methoxetamine with a significant proportion of UK websites ceasing to advertise its sale.’
The government has also agreed to implement the ACMD’s other recommendations on these substances including updating public health information on the drugs awareness website Frank.