Written statement to Parliament

Drugs policy: new psychoactive substances

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

This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons by Norman Baker MP and in the House of Lords by Lord Taylor of Holbeach.

The Rt Hon Norman Baker

The Minister for Crime Prevention (Norman Baker):

We have taken the opportunity of the G8 presidency to galvanise international partners and institutions to meet the global challenge presented by new psychoactive substances.

The G8 meetings have developed a consensus to share more information on the emergence of new substances, their impact on public health and the supply routes. The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime has launched its global Early Warning Advisory to facilitate this exchange and the UK government will continue to work with partners to ensure it is used effectively.

Secondly, the G8 member states agreed to work with the UN and the International Narcotics Control Board to develop mechanisms to facilitate more systematic engagement with source countries of new psychoactive substances. We identified a need to speak with one voice to source countries, creating a space for dialogue about substances of concern and pressing for domestic controls in source countries and law enforcement cooperation.

Thirdly, the G8 partners recognised the central importance of reducing the demand for new psychoactive substances. The UK shared its experience of targeted communications activity carried out over the summer and there was a consensus that G8 and UN channels should be used to continue to share expertise.

Fourthly, there was clear support for the reinvigoration of existing international controls of new psychoactive substances via engagement with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO has since initiated a consultation on re- energising the drug control process, proposing initiating risk assessments on a number of priority substances. We will continue to engage with G8 and UN partners to support a robust and timely framework for international controls which are fit for the challenges of the 21st century.

Fifthly, we initiated a discussion on enforcement best practice. We identified real challenges in terms of the paucity of the intelligence picture; diversity and pace of change within the market place; and the global nature of the market place and supply chain. Nonetheless, there was appetite for future information-sharing and collaboration through the G8 mechanism.

We will continue to work with G8 partners through the Russian Presidency of the G8 in 2014.

I will keep the House informed of progress.

Published 26 November 2013