New psychoactive substances have the potential to pose serious risks to public health and safety. They are often marketed as legal alternatives to controlled substances, but users can have no certainty of the health risks that will arise from using them, nor the legal status of these substances.
The market in new psychoactive substances poses challenges due to the rapid development of new drugs. The UK published an NPS action plan in May 2012 which committed us to a range of measures to address the threat, including galvanizing international partners and institutions to meet this global challenge.
The UK has played a leading role in meeting this challenge and building international partnerships. Over the past two years we have successfully led two UN resolutions to foster international action and collaboration. We have also taken the opportunity of the G8 presidency to progress our response to this threat with other G8 member states, the UN and the EU. We are engaged in a very positive exchange, sharing our understanding of the market and different approaches to protect the public and exploring opportunities for collaboration going forward.
The sharing of information among international partners on the emergence of new substances, their impact on public health and the supply routes is invaluable in addressing the challenge. I am pleased to inform Parliament that the G8 have agreed a statement of intent to progress our close joint working on this. The statement is available on the Home Office website.