DrugScope has today responded to the recommendation from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) that the ‘legal high’ naphyrone, and related compounds, are controlled as Class B drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1). The ACMD’s report also recommends that the government introduce an import ban on naphyrone with immediate effect.
Responding to the ACMD’s recommendations, DrugScope chief executive Martin Barnes said:
“The ACMD’s recommendation that naphyrone is made a Class B drug underlines continuing concerns about the dangers posed by new substances being marketed as ‘legal highs’. The focus should be on tackling the manufacture and supply of these substances and we support the recommendation that a public health campaign is launched to highlight the risks and potential harms.
“Evidence reveals that naphyrone branded as NRG-1, often contains banned drugs like mephedrone, presumably as a ploy to find a new ‘legal high’ to market or to use stocks of drugs that can no longer be sold legally. The tag ‘legal high’ seems increasingly misleading because it is clear that not only does legal not mean safe, it doesn’t even mean it’s legal.”
Naphyrone, sold as a white powder for around £12 to £15 a gram, produces stimulant effects and has a close structural resemblance to mephedrone - the stimulant drug which was made a Class B drug in April after concerns over its health harms (2).
According to the ACMD, possible health risks of naphyrone use include heart problems, the risk of the body over-heating and the potential for users to become dependent on the drug. The Council also warns that naphyrone’s higher potency relative to drugs such as mephedrone and ecstasy could put users at increased risk of overdose.
Naphyrone is commonly advertised as the ingredient in a ‘legal high’ marketed as NRG-1 – one of the first products to be sold as a ‘new legal alternative’ to mephedrone. Yet evidence reported in the forthcoming issue of DrugScope’s Druglink magazine (3) and confirmed in the ACMD’s report, shows that NRG-1 products often contain a range of class B drugs like mephedrone, MDPV and butylone – and not naphyrone as advertised.
The fact that some users purchasing NRG-1 products are unwittingly buying illegal substances puts them at risk of legal penalties. The ACMD also highlights public health concerns that NRG-1 buyers are often using substances that can have different effects, dosage levels, potencies and risks to the drug they thought they were buying. The Council’s report recommends the introduction of a public health campaign to make users aware of these risks.
For more information and/or interviews contact Ruth Goldsmith, Communications Manager, on 020 7520 7559 (07736 895 563 out-of-hours) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
DrugScope is the UK’s leading independent centre of expertise on drugs and the national membership organisation for the drug sector.
Notes to editors:
(1) Access the full ACMD report here: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/drugs/acmd1/naphyrone-report
(2) DrugScope’s newly published information page about naphyrone: http://www.drugscope.org.uk/resources/drugsearch/drugsearchpages/Naphyrone
(3) Druglink magazine is DrugScope’s bimonthly magazine about drugs. The forthomcing July/August edition features an investigation into the sale of NRG1 products which have been found to contain controlled substances including mephedrone. To find out more about the magazine, including information on how to subscribe, visit: http://www.drugscope.org.uk/publications/druglink