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Circular: a change to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

Home Office circular 014/2012 A Change to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971: control of pipradrol-related compounds and phenazepam Broad subject…

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Home Office circular 014/2012

  • Broad subject: Crime and disorder
  • Issue date: Thu Jun 07 15:51:47 BST 2012
  • From:
    Crime and policing group - drugs and alcohol unit
  • Copies sent to:
    Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, Association of Chief Police Officers (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), Magistrates’ Association, National Bench Chairmen’s Forum, Judicial College

  • Sub category: Drug offences
  • Implementation date: Wed Jun 13 15:51:00 BST 2012
  • For more info contact:

Cyrille Marcel  0207 035 0618

Email Cyrille.Marcel2@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

  • Addressed to:
    Chief Officers of Police (England and Wales), Chief Officer of Police (Northern Ireland), Chief Officers of Police (Scotland), Clerks to the Police Authorities, Chief Executive of Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service, Director of Crime, Delivery Directors, Heads of Crime, Cluster Managers, Regional Support Units, Crown Court staff, Magistrates’ Court staff, Clerks to the Justices, Royal Courts of Justice - Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) staff, Lord Chief Justice, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales, Lords Justices of Appeal, Presiding Judges, High Court Judges, Queen’s Bench Division, Crown Court Judges, Resident Judges, District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts), Chairmen of the Justices, Council of Circuit Judges

  • Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2012 (S.I. 2012/1390)
  • Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (Amendment No.2) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2012 (S.I. 2012/1310)
  • Misuse of Drugs (Amendment No.3) (England, Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2012 (S.I. 2012/1311)

This circular draws attention to the contents of the above Statutory Instruments (SIs), S.I. 2012/1390, S.I. 2012/1310 and S.I. 2012/1311 which come into force at 00:01 on 13 June 2012.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2012 classifies desoxypipradrol (also known as ‘2-DPMP’), and other pipradrol-related compounds - including diphenylprolinol (‘D2PM’ or diphenyl-2-pyrrolidinyl-methanol), diphenylmethylpyrrolidine - any ester or ether of pipradrol, and 7-bromo-5-(2-chlorophenyl)-1,3-dihydro-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one (‘phenazepam’) as controlled drugs under Schedule 2 to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

2-DPMP and other pipradrol-related compounds are subject to control as Class B drugs under Part II of that Schedule under a generic definition. Phenazepam and any ester or ether of pipradrol are subject to control as Class C drugs under Part III of that Schedule.

The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (Amendment No.2) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2012 designates 2-DPMP and other pipradrol-related compounds as drugs to which section 7(4) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 applies, essentially because they have no recognised medicinal or legitimate use.

The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment No.3) (England, Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2012 (the ‘2012 Regulations’) place the designated drugs in Schedule 1 to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 as amended (S.I. 2001/3998) (the ‘2001 Regulations’), which means that it will be unlawful to possess, supply, produce, import or export the drugs except under the required licence. The 2012 Regulations also place phenazepam and any ester or ether of pipradrol in Schedule 3 to the 2001 Regulations.

The codes for recording drug 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 set out in Annex A. 2-DPMP and other pipradrol-related compounds should be recorded under ‘other Class B’. Phenazepam and esters or ethers of pipradrol should be recorded under ‘other Class C’.

The SIs together with explanatory memoranda are available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk. They are also published by The Stationery Office. Telephone orders/General enquiries 0870 600 5522 or online at www.tso.co.uk/bookshop.

Background

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (the ‘1971 Act’) controls drugs that are ‘dangerous or otherwise harmful’, primarily 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 2001 Regulations regulate the availability of those controlled drugs according to the legitimate uses that are recognised, as applicable, by placing them in 1 of 5 schedules to the Regulations.

The control, classification and scheduling of 2-DPMP and other pipradrol-related compounds, any ester or ether of pipradrol, and phenazepam are predicated on an assessment of the respective harms that these drugs pose. These are in accordance with recommendations of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (the ACMD) published in its reports ‘Consideration of desoxypipradrol (2-DPMP) and related pipradrol compounds’ (complemented by ‘Further advice on diphenylprolinol (D2PM) and diphenylmethylpyrrolidine (2011)’ and ‘ACMD’s consideration of phenazepam’.

Specific drugs

10. 2-DPMP and other pipradrol-related compounds are harmful and dangerous new psychoactive substances. Harmful effects of these substances include hallucinations, paranoia and severe agitation for prolonged periods. The harms of these drugs are assessed as being more harmful than Class C drug pipradrol to which they are chemically related and broadly commensurate with those of Class B drugs, on which basis they are controlled as Class B drugs. Consistent with the UK’s legislative approach to other groups of drugs, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2012 controls 2-DPMP and other pipradrol-related compounds using a generic definition with the intention that control will capture a range of compounds and therefore both current and future foreseeable substances, 2-DPMP and other pipradrol-related compounds are inserted into Schedule 1 to the 2001 Regulations and are only available for research or other special purpose under licence, as they have no recognised legitimate use.

Esters or ethers of pipradrol

Esters or ethers of Class C pipradrol are simple derivatives considered as broadly similar to warrant their control alongside the main drug. To ensure consistency with current definitions under Part III of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2012 omits pipradrol from paragraph 1(a) and inserts it in 1(b), where Class C control of a drug applies to its esters or ethers. Similarly, these esters or ethers are inserted into Schedule 3 to the 2001 Regulations where pipradrol remains.

Phenazepam

The harms of phenazepam, which is a benzodiazepine drug, include amnesia, dependence, drowsiness that can lead to coma and respiratory depression, commensurate with those of other benzodiazepines which are controlled Class C drugs. Consistent with the current control and classification of the benzodiazepine family of drugs, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2012 inserts phenazepam as a Class C drug in paragraph 1(a) under Part III of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act. Phenazepam is inserted into Schedule 3 to the 2001 Regulations as one of the more potent and harmful benzodiazepines, with the effect that it is subject to regulations 14 (documentation), 15 (prescription writing), 16 (supply on prescription), 18 (marking of containers), 22 and 23 (record-keeping and preservation of registers), 26 (furnishing of information) and 27 (destruction of the drugs only in presence of an authorised person) of the 2001 Regulations.

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:

These are to be placed under existing codes relating to ‘Other Class B’ drugs as follows:

  • 92/25 - Production of or being concerned in production of a controlled drug - Class B
  • 92/45 - Supplying or offering to supply or being concerned in supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug - Class B
  • 92/65 - Possession of a controlled drug - Class B
  • 92/85 - Possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply - Class B
  • 93/25 - Permitting premises to be used for unlawful purposes - Class B

Phenazepam and esters or ethers of pipradrol

These are to be placed under existing codes relating to ‘Other Class C’ drugs as follows:

  • 92/28 - Production of or being concerned in production of a controlled drug - Class C
  • 92/48 - Supplying or offering to supply or being concerned in supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug - Class C
  • 92/68 - Possession of a controlled drug - Class C
  • 92/88 - Possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply - Class C
  • 93/28 - Permitting premises to be used for unlawful purposes - Class C

Offences under s. 19(a) and 19(b) 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 s. 50(2), (3) & (5), s. 68 (2) & (4) and s. 170 (1), (2), (3) & (4) 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.