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Sunday, 21st October 2018

Drugs and the Law

Harmful ‘legal highs’ banned


Update 22-7-11. As from today , the UK Border Agency will seize and destroy shipments of phenazepam. The government will also take steps to control the so-called legal high as class C drug when Parliament returns. More Here.


Several chemicals used on herbal smoking products and other so called ‘legal highs’, have been made illegal. (December 2009).

The list includes the chemical solvent GBL. Some of the substances have similar effects to stimulants or depressant illegal drugs.

The following will all be banned, subject to parliamentary approval:

  • GBL (Gamma-Butyrolactone) and a similar chemical – which are converted in to the Class C drug GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) in the body and often used as ‘club drugs’. They will be controlled as Class C drugs and banned when intended for human consumption.
  • Synthetic cannabinoids - man-made chemicals sprayed on herbal smoking products such as ‘Spice’, which act on the body in a similar way to cannabis but can be far more potent, will be controlled as a Class B drug alongside cannabis.
  • BZP (Benzylpiperazine) and related piperazines, which are stimulants taken as an alternative to amphetamine, will be controlled as Class C drugs.

Home Office logo For further information and source of this article go to the Home Office Website

For more information on these substances, read the fact-sheet on the Home Office. (Extract below)

What does the law say?

Even though some substances may not be controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 – for example, in the same way as cannabis and cocaine are - it can still be illegal to sell, supply or advertise them under medicines legislation.


Many suppliers use descriptions such as bath salts, plant food, research chemicals, fertiliser and cleaning fluid, or statements such as ‘not for human consumption’ in order to try to get around the law.

Subject to Parliamentary agreement, the Government will make a number of these so called ‘legal highs’ illegal under the 1971 Act, by the end of 2009. These are GBL (and its like chemical 1,4-Butanediol (1,4-BD) (when intended for human consumption only); BZP and its related compounds (such as mCPP,TFMPP and others); and synthetic cannabinoids (such as those found in “Spice”).


The Government and its advisers, the ACMD (Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs) continue to monitor the risks and harms from a variety of legal and illegal substances. The Government is committed to take action against other so called ‘legal highs’ that pose a significant health risk.


In March this year (2009), the ACMD was commissioned by the Government to look at the harms and availability of so called ‘legal highs’. Its advice on synthetic cannabinoids is the first output of this work.


As a priority of the ACMD’s thematic review, it will be looking at the ‘cathinone’ compounds, which include Mephedrone. Its advice will inform government’s response to these substances.


What else is Class B?

Subject to Parliamentary agreement, synthetic cannabinoids will be controlled under the 1971 Act as Class B drugs.

Class B drugs include: cannabis and amphetamine.

You can get up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine, or both, for possession, and up to 14 years in prison, or an unlimited fine, or both, for dealing.


What else is Class C?

Subject to Parliamentary agreement, GBL and 1,4-BD, (when intended for human consumption only), as well as BZP and its related compounds will be controlled under the 1971 Act as Class C drugs.

Class C drugs include: tranquillisers, steroids, Ketamine, and GHB.

You can get up to two years in prison, or an unlimited fine, or both, for possession, and up to 14 years in prison, or an unlimited fine, or both, for dealing.