July 7, 2010: Make 'Legal High' Illegal, Says ACMD
A recommendation has been made to the government to make a 'leagl high' illegal. The chemical naphyrone (and related compounds), marketed as the 'legal high' NRG-1, should be made a Class B drug, says the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in its report 'Consideration of the napthylpyrovalerone analogues and related compounds', just published, to the government.
The ACMD is also calling on the Home Secretary to implement an immediate import ban on naphyrone.
The ACMD was established under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. It is the duty of the ACMD to keep drugs misuse, in the United Kingdom, under review and to advise the Government on measures for preventing misuse and social problems arising from it.
The review into naphyrone and related compounds is part of the ongoing work the ACMD are conducting on the legal high market and follows advice already made to government and the subsequent bans on mephedrone (and related cathinones), SPICE, GBL and BZP.
ACMD interim Chair Professor Les Iversen said:
'Naphyrone is a drug with the potential to cause real harm due to its potency and associated health effects.Users of 'legal highs' should be aware that just because a substance is being advertised as legal does not make it safe, nor may it be legal.
'Test purchasing has demonstrated that what you think you are buying is often not what is in the packet. The harms and effects of your purchase may be different and/or greater than you expect.'
Naphyrone has a close resemblance to other cathinones. The report shows that due to its potency this drug has considerable potential for abuse and also accidental overdose. The predicted harms of this chemical include adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels, hyperthermia, dependence and psychiatric effects.
While compiling the report the ACMD took evidence on test purchasing undertaken by Liverpool John Moores University and Tic Tac Communications which showed that many products being sold as NRG-1 are often mislabelled and often contain other illegal chemicals.
The ACMD's recommendations including the following:
- Given the significant health risks associated with 'legal highs' a concerted public health and education campaign is required to highlight the inconsistencies in these products; the variable potency and risk of overdose.
- That an import ban is invoked with immediate effect to target the manufacturer and supply of naphyrone, and related compounds.
- That naphyrone be brought under control of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in Class B and under Schedule I of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (2003) by way of a generic definition. Based on the evidence in the report, the ACMD consider that the harms associated with naphyrone closely equate with compounds such as mephedrone and other compounds in Class B.