(ill) Legal Highs/NPS (New Psychoactive Substances) made an unpleasant and unexpected arrival around 2008 in this country! Many had existed for years and many as labelled, are ‘Research Chemicals’, which to be honest where never designed for human use. Due to various loop-holes in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Medicine Act 1968 and various other acts these substances have been allowed to be sold on the open market, with very little or no regulation and importantly no harm reduction around their use.
Psychoactive Substances Act (2016)
The Psychoactive Substances Act will fundamentally change the way we tackle harm caused by psychoactive substances. The Act creates criminal offences to cover the production and distribution of PS for human consumption. It will give police and local authorities greater powers to tackle this trade.
A substance causes a psychoactive effect in a person if, by stimulating or depressing the person’s central nervous system, it affects the person’s mental functioning or emotional state. The new act is focused on supply and does not contain a possession offence in the community, only possession with intent to supply and possession in a custodial institution.
The Act does, however, provide provision for police or customs officers to seize and dispose of psychoactive substances, including where the quantity seized during a search of the person or vehicle is consistent with personal use.
Please note: low level supply such as between friends could be dealt with by simple forfeiture or civil sanctions.