Naphyrone - often advertised as 'NRG1' - and its related compounds are to be banned and made Class B drugs, Minister for Crime Prevention James Brokenshire announced today.
This follows recommendations from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).
Today the government laid a Parliamentary order and legislation will now follow at the earliest opportunity. This will include a generic definition to prevent drug manufacturers tweaking the chemical structure in an attempt to get around the law.
James Brokenshire said, 'I am deeply concerned about the use of this potentially dangerous 'legal high' and I want to make it illegal as soon as possible.
'We have already taken action to ban its import into the UK and we will continue to target those unscrupulous dealers who try to bring these substances onto our streets.'
'I also want to send a clear message to anyone considering buying a 'legal high' - just because they are advertised as 'legal' does not mean that they are safe and they may not be legal. You are putting your health at risk and could be committing a criminal offence.'
Naphyrone and related compounds - often advertised as 'NRG1' are often sold labelled as '100 per cent legal' or as 'plant food'. The ACMD report, published on 7 July 2010, showed that due to its potency naphyrone has considerable potential for misuse and accidental overdose. The likely harms include adverse effects on the heart and blood vessels, hyperthermia, dependence and psychiatric effects.
The ACMD report also highlighted research that found that in many cases substances sold as 'NRG1' actually contained already banned drugs, such as mephedrone. The ACMD will continue to look at 'legal highs'as a priority as part of their ongoing work.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) is now able to seize and destroy naphyrone and related compounds at the border. Following a similar ban on mephedrone and related compounds in March 2010, UKBA have already prevented more than 115kg of suspected mephedrone reaching our streets.