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New psychoactive substances added to Finland's list of narcotics

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
10.9.2015 13.30
Press release 143/2015

Seven new psychoactive substances will be added to Finland's list of narcotics. This means that the production, import, storage, sale, handing over as well as possession and use of these substances will be prohibited in the future and will be punishable by law. An amendment to the government decree will enter into effect on 28 September 2015.

The use of new psychoactive substances can be hazardous to a person's physical and mental health, as well as his/her social functional capacity. Banning these substances will not completely eliminate their use, but it will prevent or slow down their spread to new user groups, especially young people. The classification of these substances will also improve their monitoring by authorities. 

The substances added to the list of narcotics include acetylfentanyl and oxyfentanil, as well as five other dangerous substances: 2-MeO-PCP, 3-MeO-PCP, 4-MeO-PCP, AB-CHMINACA, MDMB-CHMICA. Of these substances, authorities have begun to monitor 2-MeO-PCP as a so-called positional isomer for 3-MeO-PCP and 4-MeO-PCP and it has yet to be observed in narcotic use. It is the first time that a positional isomer for a substance considered hazardous to human health has been classified as a narcotic in Finland. The classification of a positional isomer as a narcotic only became possible at the end of 2014 pursuant to an amendment to the Narcotics Act.

2-MeO-PCP, 3-MeO-PCP and 4-MeO-PCP, which were added to the list of narcotics are methoxy derivatives of phencyclidine i.e. PCP. Phencyclidine is classified a narcotic in the UN Convention on psychotropic substances. The substances have hallucinogenic effects and lead to sensory deprivation. AB-CHMINACA and MDMB-CHMICA are synthetic cannabinoids. Serious health hazards related to the narcotic use of these, including poisonings resulting in hospital visits and deaths linked to mixed use, have been reported elsewhere in Europe. Acetylfentanyl and oxyfentanil are synthetic opioids that resemble fentanyl, which has been classified as a narcotic and also been used as a pain medication. Synthetic opioids cause mood swings, euphoria and sleepiness. Even small portions of the now classified fentanyl derivatives can lead to breathing difficulties that may result in death, and therefore these must be considered extremely dangerous.

With the exception of 2-MeO-PCP, these substances have been reported in the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction's (EMCDDA) early warning system. This means that their narcotic use has increased in Europe and to some extent also in Finland.

The same amendment to the decree will see ten new psychoactive substances already monitored as narcotics in Finland transferred to the decree's different appendices, as these will now also be monitored pursuant to the UN convention. The amendment is based on a decision by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs during its General Assembly in March 2015. The substances are the first new psychoactive substances that were placed under broad-scoped monitoring pursuant to an UN convention. 

Further Information

Ministerial Counsellor Ismo Tuominen, tel. +358 2951 63341, [email protected]

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