Correspondence

Circular 003/2015: a change to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971: control of MT-45 and 4,4’-DMAR

This circular draws attention to the contents of the Statutory Instruments S.I. 2015/215, S.I. 2015/232 and S.I. 2015/231 which come into force at 00:01 on 11 March 2015.

Documents

Details

  • broad subject: crime and disorder
  • sub category: drug offences
  • implementation date: 26 February 2015
  • from: crime and policing group - crime directorate
  • for more information contact: Cyrille Marcel, 0207 035 4559

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 * copies are being sent to: * The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners * Association of Chief Police Officers (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) * Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland * Judicial College * Magistrates’ Association * National Bench Chairmen’s Forum

Introduction

  • The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2015 (S.I. 2015/215)
  • The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (Amendment) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2015 (S.I. 2015/232)
  • The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) (England, Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/231)

This circular draws attention to the contents of the above Statutory Instruments (S.I.), S.I. 2015/215, S.I. 2015/232 and S.I. 2015/231 which come into force at 00:01 on 11 March 2015.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Amendment) Order 2015 classifies as Class A drugs under Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (“the 1971 Act”):

  • 1-cyclohexyl-4-(1,2-diphenylethyl)piperazine (MT-45)

  • 4-methyl-5-(4-methylphenyl)-4,5-dihydrooxazol-2-amine (4,4’-DMAR).

The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (Amendment) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2015 amends the Misuse of Drugs (Designation) Order 2001 to “designate” MT-45 and 4,4’-DMAR as controlled drugs to which section 7(4) of the 1971 Act applies, because they have no recognised medicinal or legitimate uses outside of research. This means that it will be unlawful to possess, supply, produce, import or export MT-45 and 4,4’-DMAR except under a Home Office licence for research or other special purpose.

Accordingly, the Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) (England, Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2015 amend the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (“the 2001 Regulations”) by adding MT-45 and 4,4’-DMAR in Schedule 1.

The codes for recording drug offences relating to these substances 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 (below).

The SIs together with explanatory memoranda are available at 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

Background

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 controls drugs that are ‘dangerous or otherwise harmful’, primarily under a 3-tier system of classification (Classes 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 MT-45 and 4,4’-DMAR is predicated on an assessment of their respective harms and is made in accordance with recommendations of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (as amended) (S.I. 2001/3998) regulates the availability of controlled drugs by placing them in 1 of 5 schedules to the Regulations according to their recognised uses as medicines or research compounds. The Schedule into which a drug is placed primarily dictates the extent to which it is lawful to import, export, produce, supply and administer and possess the drug and also imposes requirements around prescription writing, record keeping, labeling and safe custody. Drugs which have no legitimate uses are “designated” and placed in Schedule 1 to the 2001 Regulations which means they are subject to the strictest levels of control.

Specific drugs

MT-45 is a synthetic opioid. The ACMD advises that MT-45 presents health risks including respiratory depression, addiction and related social harms which are similar to the risks of controlled opioids. The ACMD further reports adverse effects and incidents including coma and death which have been linked to MT-45 as a cause or contributory factor in other countries.

4,4’-DMAR is a new psychoactive substance with stimulant properties. The ACMD advises that 4,4’-DMAR toxicity has been linked as a cause or contributory factor to serious health harms including agitation, convulsions and hyperthermia prior to deaths reported in the UK and other EU member states. In some cases, symptoms included loss of hearing.

MT-45 and 4,4’-DMAR are being permanently controlled as Class A drugs under the 1971 Act and inserted into Schedule 1 to the 2001 Regulations, as well as being designated drugs to which section 7(4) of the 1971 Act applies, because they have no recognised legitimate uses beyond potential research use which will continue to be enabled under a Home Office licence.

Annex A

Offence recording codes

MT-45 and 4,4’-DMAR are to be placed under existing codes relating to ‘Other Class A’ drugs. 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 caution, are as follows:

  • 092/19 - Production of or being concerned in production of a controlled drug – Class A

  • 092/39 - Supplying or offering to supply or being concerned in supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug – Class A

  • 092/59 - Possession of a controlled drug – Class A

  • 092/79 - Possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply – Class A

  • 093/19 - Permitting premises to be used for unlawful purposes – Class A

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 A, B or C drugs. Codes 77/53, 77/54, 77/55, 77/57 and 77/58 refer.

Importation and Exportation offences under s. 50(2), (3) & (5) and 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 A, B or C drugs. Codes 92/03, 92/04, 92/05, 92/06, 92/07 and 92/08 refer.

Forces are required to record seizures of the drugs being controlled that occur from 11 March 2015.

Published 20 February 2015