NEW psychoactive substances – commonly known as ‘legal highs’ – are not yet controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
That is why they are not against the law and available to buy from ‘head shops’ and over the internet.
Some have already been banned, but enforcers have faced challenges as manufacturers only have to make slight tweaks to the ingredients of a compound to make it legal again.
The Psychoactive Substances Bill is going through parliament and aims to introduce a blanket ban on the production, distribution, sale and supply of designer drugs. Sellers will face up to seven years in prison.
More than 500 new drugs have been banned by the government but the current system is seen as laborious as substances have to be assessed individually before they can be outlawed.