To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps that do not require legislation have been taken by her Department in response to its review of new psychoactive substances since its publication; and what further such steps she plans to take before the end of the present Parliament (a) overall and (b) relating to head shops.
In our response to the new psychoactive substances expert panel’s report, published on 30 October 2014, the Government set out a timetable for delivery of a number of the actions we are taking both under the present Parliament and beyond. Some of these have already been delivered. For example, Public Health England (PHE) has already delivered a new toolkit to help local areas to prevent and respond to the use of NPS. Other actions are underway, such as work with key enforcement partners to issue and/or update guidance to further tackle the supply of NPS generally as well as in "headshops". In addition, the Government continues to ensure that the Misuse of Drugs 1971 controls keep pace with the evolving NPS market. This includes controlling MT-45 and 4,4’-DMAR as Class A drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Work has begun on developing legislative proposals for a general ban on new psychoactive substances similar to that introduced in Ireland. The Government is moving swiftly so that new legislation is ready to be introduced at the earliest opportunity, notwithstanding the lack of appropriate legislative vehicle in this Parliament. In addition, statutory consultation has been initiated with the ACMD on the legislative proposal to adopt a new definition to ban all synthetic cannabinoids based on their effects on the brain.