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A Change To The Misuse Of Drugs Act 1971 : Control Of Mephedrone And Other Cathinone Derivatives

Home Office circular 010/2010 A change to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 : Control of mephedrone and other cathinone derivatives Broad subject…

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Home Office circular 010/2010

A change to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 : Control of mephedrone and other cathinone derivatives

  • Broad subject: Crime and disorder
  • Issue date: Fri Apr 16 00:00:00 BST 2010
  • From:
    Crime and policy group (CPG) - drug strategy unit
  • Linked circulars:
    No linked circulars

  • Sub category: Drug offences
  • Implementation date: Wed Apr 14 15:30:24 BST 2010
  • For more info contact:
    Richard Mullins 020 7035 0463

Home Office circular 010/2010 - A change to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971: control of mephedrone and other cathinone derivatives

Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (amendment) order 2010 (S.I. 2010/1207):
Misuse of Drugs (designation) (amendment) (England, Wales and Scotland) order 2010 (s.i. 2010/1143); Misuse of Drugs (amendment) (England, Wales and Scotland) regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010/1144).

Summary

1.  This circular draws attention to the contents of the above Statutory Instruments (SIs), S.I. 2010/1207, S.I. 2010/1143 and S.I. 2010/1144 which come into force on 16 April 2010.

2.  The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2010 classifies 4- methylmethcathinone, also known as mephedrone, and other cathinone derivatives (except buproprion and those already controlled under the Act, including cathinone itself) as controlled drugs under Schedule 2 to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. These substances are subject to control as Class B drugs under Part 2 of that Schedule.

3.  The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (Amendment) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2010 designates these substances as drugs to which section 7(4) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 applies, essentially because they have no recognised medicinal use.

  1. The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) (England, Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2010 (the “2010 Regulations”) place these drugs in Schedule 1 to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 which means essentially that it will be unlawful to possess, supply, produce, import or export the drugs except under licence.

  2. .The codes for recording offences relating to these drugs by the police and the courts for statistical purposes within the Home Office Recorded Crime and Ministry of Justice Court Appearance Database (CAD) - which includes cautions - are set out in Annex A.. Methcathinone which is already controlled as a Class B drug should no longer be coded under “other Class B” but under the new codes. Cathinone and the 2 cathinone derivatives already controlled as Class C drugs - diethylpropion and pyrovalerone - should continue to be coded under “other Class C drugs”.

6.  The SIs together with explanatory memoranda can be found at http://opsi.gov.uk. They are also published by The Stationery Office. Telephone orders/General enquiries can be made by phoning 0870 600 5522 or online at www.tso.co.uk/bookshop.

Background

Summary overview

7.  The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (‘the 1971 Act’) controls drugs that are ‘dangerous or otherwise harmful’ under a 3-tier system of classification (A, B and C) which provides a framework within which criminal penalties are set with reference to the harm a drug has or is capable of having when misused and the type of illegal activity undertaken in regard to that drug. The control and classification of these cathinone derivatives are predicated on an assessment of the harm they pose and is in accordance with recommendations of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

8.  The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/3998) regulate the availability of those controlled drugs that have a recognised and legitimate use, by placing them in 1 of 5 schedules to the Regulations.

9.  Mephedrone and the other cathinone derivatives being controlled are harmful and dangerous drugs with similar effects to amphetamine, to which they are closely related. They can cause anxiety and paranoid states, over-stimulation of the cardiovascular system, with risk of heart and circulatory problems; and over-stimulation of the nervous system, with risk of fits and of agitated and paranoid states and hallucinations, as well as the risk of dependency. The harms of these drugs are assessed as being broadly commensurate with, and are therefore controlled as, Class B drugs.

10.  Consistent with the UK’s legislative approach to other synthetic drugs, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2010 controls cathinone derivatives using a generic definition with the intention that controls will capture a range of derivatives and therefore both current and future foreseeable trends.

11.  The generic definition captures the following inexhaustive list of cathinones:

  1. 4-Methylmethcathinone (mephedrone)

  2. 4-Methoxymethcathinone (bk-PMMA/ methedrone)
  3. 3-Fluoromethcathinone
  4. 2-Methylamino-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)propan-1-one (bk-MDMA/methylone)
  5. 2-Methylamino-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)butan-1-one (bk-MBDB/butylone)

12.  Those cathinones already controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 - cathinone (Class C), methcathinone (Class B), diethylpropion (Class C) and pyrovalerone (Class C) - have been specifically excluded from the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2010. Bupropion is also excluded because of its legitimate uses as an anti-depressant and as an aid to stop smoking.

Angela Scrutton
Drug Strategy Unit
Home Office

Annex A

Offence recording codes

The codes for recording offences by the police and the courts for statistical purposes within the Home Office Recorded Crime and Ministry of Justice Court Appearance Database (CAD) - which includes cautions - are as follows:

  • Cathinone derivatives including 4- methylmethcathinone also known as mephedrone

  • 92/23- Production of or being concerned in production of a controlled drug - Class B

  • 92/43- Supplying or offering to supply or being concerned in supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug - Class B

  • 92/63- Possession of a controlled drug - Class B

  • 92/83- Possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply - Class B

  • 93/23- Permitting premises to be used for unlawful purposes - Class B

Offences under S 19(1) and (2) of the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990 will fall under the appropriate sub-classification code for either Class B or C drugs. Codes 77/54, 77/55, 77/57 and 77/58 refer.

Importation and Exportation offences under SS 50(2), (3) & (5), SS. 68(2) & (4)) and SS 170 (1), (2) & (5) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 will fall under the appropriate sub-classification code for either Class B or C drugs. Codes 92/04, 92/05, 92/07 and 92/08 refer.

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