Novel Psychoactives Bill in the UK

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Novel Psychoactives Bill in the UK

Postby reality » Wed Jul 08, 2015 3:47 pm

If you're a UK resident you'll probably have heard of this - the government is planning to ban everything psychoactive from the outset, with certain exceptions made for caffeine, alcohol and such.

I think we'd all probably be in agreement that the law is ill-advised, as the entire story of the War on Drugs has proven repeatedly that people will continue to use drugs whether they are legal or not. In current times, we see increasingly fervent and restrictive legislation, accompanied by a sustained campaign of state-perpetuated misinformation, and it's clear to see that these serve only to feed the harms caused by drugs to the individuals who use them in both physical and legal terms.

In the short term, I have a theory that we may enter a bit of a dark ages in terms of drug safety and quality; after the blanket ban these previously semi-legitimate vendors will offload their wares to illicit drug dealers (as they often do already when individual drugs are illegalised), who will then mis-sell the RCs as more traditional drugs for profit-motive. This will obviously wreak mayhem among the populous, and will likely be responsible for quite a few deaths.

However, in the longer term I believe that the removal of this currently existing advantage of using RCs in terms of legality (however shakey and grey-area it may be), may eventually lead to people choosing to purchase the more traditional drugs with a longer history of use in humans and a decent safety profile. The reduction of a market, and thus drive to create these potentially dangerous and untested research chemicals may actually end up being a net-positive in terms of safety for the user.

What do you think the implications of this new law will be?
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Re: Novel Psychoactives Bill in the UK

Postby jimmycarr » Mon Oct 05, 2015 12:27 am

It's interesting you mention that semi-legitimate RC vendors would offload the chemicals to drug dealers. I hadn't thought about this before but I guess it makes sense, especially in a world where some people care solely about profit and not about the health of users.

I would support the ban if it was easier to get drugs unbanned in the UK pending research that they aren't too harmful or addictive to the end user. The problem is this is notoriously difficult to research and prove, especially when scientists can't get access to the chemicals due to the law prohibiting possession even for research purposes.

Research chemicals are becoming an increasing problem in the UK [1] and it's understandable that the government wants to take action. Unfortunately this bill is far too broad, and also bans a lot of fairly legitimate substances which don't have a large history of abuse or overdose. I think the Government's attention would be better focussed on the way these substances (and other drugs) are sold to make sure that people are aware of the risks and able to make informed decisions about what they are taking.

One of the biggest dangers with research chemicals is that, at least in the UK, many of them are sold in smartshops which have to pretend that the substances are not intended for human consumption. As such, the end user is not told what is in the product, how much to take, what effects it will have, or what the risks could be. If we weren't in a constant game of whack-a-mole where any substance that starts to gain popularity was outlawed, people could start getting more familiar with the new compounds that are entering the markets and learn which ones to avoid and which ones seem to have lower risks.

This is certainly an unfortunate route for the government to take, but I agree with you in that I expect this might finally turn people away from taking random research chemicals and sticking to the drugs that they know are more well researched and understood.

[1] "New psychoactive substances" deaths increased from less than 10 per year prior to 2008, to 67 in 2014 ... A77-406863

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