New psychoactive substances inquiry announced

22 July 2015

The Home Affairs Committee holds a short inquiry into psychoactive substances following plans announced in the Queen's Speech to ban a new generation of the drugs.

The inquiry looks at: 

  • Which groups will be particularly affected by a ban on psychoactive substances? What steps can the Government take to educate these groups about the dangers? How will the Government explain the change in the legal status of these substances?
  • What specialist treatment do users of psychoactive substances require? What can be done to counter a shift to using controlled drugs once there is a ban? 
  • Do the enforcement agencies have the necessary powers and resources to effectively enforce the proposed new laws? 

The Committee would welcome views on these and any other relevant matters. The inquiry and report will inform the Commons stages of the passage of the Bill, due in autumn.

Chair's comments

Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"It has become increasingly difficult to keep up with the generation of new psychoactive substances that are constantly being developed, often expressly to evade drug laws, and freely available on the internet and on the street. 
While these drugs are described as legal highs or even natural highs they can be extremely damaging to people’s physical and mental health, or even lethal, and all the more so because each new substance is a totally unknown quantity, untested and uncontrolled.  
The Committee wants to know whether these new laws are effectively shaped to tackle the production and distribution of the existing and new chemicals constantly coming on to the market, and what further measures will be required to support that and really make it work."

Send a written submission

The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by midday on Wednesday 2 September 2015.

Further information

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