Skip to content

Designer drugs to be covered under the Narcotics Act

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 19.12.2014 14.45
Press release

Bulletin of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of the Interior, the Finnish Medicines Agency, Finnish Customs, and the Office of the Prosecutor General

The banning of new psychoactive substances, or designer drugs, will be moved from the Medicines Act to the Narcotics Act. Up to now substances have been banned in Finland by classifying them as medicines. The most dangerous designer drugs have been classified as illegal drugs already since 2011.

The Court of Justice of the European Union gave a ruling concerning Germany in July 2014 according to which all designer drugs cannot be classified as medicines. After the decision was handed down, acquittals have been handed down in Finland as well on charges of importing and selling designer drugs. As the acquittals have been appealed, they do not have the force of law.

Under the Government decree issued today, the unclear situation that prevailed resulting from the decision of the EU Court is rectified. The new decree will include a total of about 150 designer drugs from appendices of the List of medicines which will, in the future, be defined as psychoactive substances banned from the consumer market. Such substances include Gamma-Butyrolactone, or GBL, as well as a number of synthetic cannabinoids.

Substances which have effects comparable to medicines will continue to be within the scope of the Medicines Act.

The manufacture, import, storage, keeping for sale and giving to another person of psychoactive substances that are banned from the consumer market are prohibited activities. Violating the prohibition is punishable by fines or by up to one year of imprisonment. However, if there is a well-founded reason, it is permissible to bring these substances into the country and store them for the needs of industry and for scientific research. A prerequisite for this is, however, that notification of such import has been given to the Finnish Medicines Agency.

The Government decree on psychoactive substances to be prohibited on the consumer market was handed down on 19 December. The decree takes effect 20.12.2014.

The most dangerous substances will continue to be defined as narcotics by Government decree on substances, preparations, and plants to be considered as narcotics.

Further information

Ismo Tuominen, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 341
Elina Kotovirta, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 977
Police Inspector Antti Simanainen, Ministry of the Interior, tel.. +358 295 488 577
Supervision Director Mikko Grönberg, Finnish customs, tel. +358 40 332 2679
Senior Inspector Katja Pihlainen, Finnish Medicines Agency, tel. +358 295 223 241
State Prosecutor Leena Metsäpelto, Office of the Prosecutor General  tel. +358 295 620 890

Elsewhere in our service

Illegal drugs policy


Government decree on psychoactive substabces to be prohibited on the consumer market (pdf 46.6 kB)

Back to top

We are currently updating our website

We are currently updating our website to comply with changes entered into force on 1 January 2023. With these changes, the responsibility for organising health and social services were transferred from municipalities to wellbeing services counties.