The main legislation in the UK for controlling the misuse of drugs is the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971). Please note that this Act has been constantly up-dated to take in new drugs and to change Class of drugs.
So we have 3 Classes of ‘illegal’ drugs, these are Class A the most serious in terms of perceived harms, both societal and person harms. The others are Class B and Class C. Please for detailed information on these go to Release Website www.release.org.uk Other related Acts are the Medicine Act 1968 and at present the ‘Psychoactive Substances Bill’ which wants to make legal provision for all drugs that are psychoactive, except Alcohol, Tobacco and Caffeine, the first two legislated for by other Acts and Caffeine being Legal. Therefore making all mimic drugs, synthetic drugs and certain gases illegal, as defined by the Home Office.
We will over the next few months add information about this Bill and the proposed changes including Nitrous Oxide, used in medicine and dentistry for its anaesthetic and analgesic effects, it causes euphoria, thus the ‘laughing gas’ and as a gas in food products like whipped cream. It is a greenhouse gas! So far no other gasses are in the Bill, so Helium which is a ‘Lifting Gas’, is not included!