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'Ivory Wave' to become Class B drug

'Ivory Wave' to become Class B drug

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 15 September 2011

New psychoactive substances found in so-called 'legal high' brand 'Ivory Wave' are to become controlled Class B drugs, the government signalled today.

The psychoactive substance Desoxypipradrol (2-DPMP) is to be controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as a Class B substance, along with structurally related compounds to ensure that alternatives cannot be developed to avoid the ban.

The move follows advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) published this week. The ACMD found the health effects of 2-DPMP and its related compounds are similar to those of Class B drugs and have the potential to cause harm.

An initial recommendation from the ACMD to put in place an import ban on 2-DPMP was accepted and implemented by the government in November 2010.

An Order making the substance illegal will be put before Parliament this autumn. The Order will also seek to make phenazepam, also used as a 'legal high', a Class C drug along with other benzodiazepines following ACMD advice in July.

Baroness Browning, Minister for Crime Prevention and Antisocial Behaviour Reduction, said:

"The ACMD's advice on 'Ivory Wave' reinforces what we already know - that substances touted as 'legal highs' contain dangerous and potentially illegal substances.

"Young people in particular may often equate legal with "safe" and are quite simply playing a high risk game of lottery by taking substances without knowing what they contain or their potentially harmful effects.

"We are determined to tackle the harms posed by these drugs and prevent them gaining a foothold in the UK. The generic definition will ensure those trying to profit from this market cannot get round the ban.

"Controlling these substances sends a clear message to users, including young people who may be considering using them, as well as to those producing and supplying them."

The government is working closely with the ACMD to gain a fuller, independent picture on the harms of illegal drugs and new substances entering the UK. The ACMD is preparing its thematic advice on tackling the legal high market as a government priority in its work programme.

At the same time the government is taking a range of actions, including:

* legislative proposals in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill for a new 12-month 'temporary banning order' will allow the government to take immediate action to protect the public while the ACMD fully assess the harms posed by new substances;

* the Forensic Early Warning System (FEWS) aims to improve our ability to identify new drugs coming into the UK market, putting the UK at the forefront of international efforts to tackle the issue. It includes developing a co-ordinated UK-wide approach to laboratory testing and analysis of drug seizures, as well as wider test purchasing. Samples taken by FEWS at festivals over the summer including Relentless, T in the Park, Glastonbury and Bestival are now being analysed;

* law enforcement agencies are already working closely with international partners to prevent drugs reaching our streets in the first place and we are creating a new border policing command as part of the National Crime Agency to better tackle international drug gangs;

* this month the Home Office will issue information about the dangers of 'legal highs' among young people through a student survival pack as part of Freshers Week; and

* continue to spread information about the harms of drugs and 'legal highs' among young people and parents through the FRANK service. More information about drugs and substances, including 'legal highs', can be found by visiting www.talktofrank.com, calling 0800 776600 or texting 82111 for free, confidential advice.


092/2011


Notes to editors

1. The government first referred 2-DPMP to the ACMD for advice in September last year.

2. ACMD's official advice to the government, and more about the advisory council can be found at:http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/agencies-public-bodies/acmd/

3. Test purchasing and forensic testing of 'Ivory Wave' samples have shown that one of its constituents is Desoxypipradrol (also known as 2-diphenylmethylpiperidine (2-DPMP)), which is not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Other consitutents of sample Ivory Wave have included Methylenediooxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and mephedrone, both of which are controlled drugs.

4. The compound structure of 2-DPMP is closely related to methylphenidate (Ritalin), which is controlled as a class B drug and has similar effects to amphetamines.

5. The Forensic Early Warning System (FEWS) is part of the Home Office's research facility and was introduced earlier this year to improve the government's ability to identify new drugs coming into the UK. It includes developing a coordinated UK-wide approach to laboratory testing and analysis of drug seizures, as well as wider test purchasing.

6. The announcement on phenazepam was made on 22 July (this included an import ban pending Class C drug control under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971)

7. The government launched its drug strategy in December 2010 which can be found here: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs/drug-strategy-2010/

8. For further information please contact the Home Office Press Office on 020 7035 3535.

Contacts:

Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535
NDS.HO@coi.gsi.gov.uk

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