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Lords to discuss proposal regarding new psychoactive substances with new Home Office Minister

The House of Lords Home Affairs, Health and Education European Union Sub-Committee will question Norman Baker MP, Minister of State at the Home Office, on Wednesday 16 October on a new European Commission proposal regarding new psychoactive substances

In March last year, the Committee published its report into what form the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020 should take. In the report the Committee supported the exploration of alternatives to banning new psychoactive substances (‘legal highs'), such as placing them within in regulated markets similar to those that already exist for tobacco and alcohol, as it concluded that it was “not convinced that there is any benefit to be gained from new legislation on drug trafficking or on new psychoactive substances.”

On 26 March 2013, the Government published an action plan to combat new psychoactive substances, which had some similarities to what the Commission is proposing.

Mr. Baker is likely to face questions from the Committee on areas including:

  • whether there is the potential for the “very small” legal trade in new psychoactive substances to increase;
  • if the UK would face sanctions or penalties from the European Commission and/or Court of Justice of the European Union if it breached an EU-wide ban on a new substance or decided to unilaterally ban a substance not banned at EU level under the proposed new system; and
  • whether the Commission's proposals reflect the efforts to tackle the spread of new psychoactive substances at other regional levels, e.g. G8 and international levels.

The evidence session will take place on Wednesday 16 October at 10.10 am in Committee Room 3.

The session will be webcast at and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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