A total of 58 new psychoactive substances banned
Fifty-eight new, previously uncontrolled, psychoactive substances are included in a Government Decree banning their production, import, storage, sale and supply. Possession or use is not punishable. The new substances are added to a list of psychoactive substances prohibited on the consumer market. The updated Government Decree enters into force on 15 May 2017.
The proposal to put the substances under national control was drawn up by the Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea) after it identified 39 new potentially harmful or dangerous substances in early 2017 in cooperation with the Police and Customs. These substances have no other use than recreational use. The remaining 19 substances are positional isomers of the aforementioned substances, and they may have harmful or dangerous health effects in recreational use.
New psychoactive substances (NPS) can be harmful to health and have adverse effects on mental health and social functioning. While prohibiting a substance on the consumer market does not prevent its use, it can prevent spread and recreational use of NPS. Banning NPS may slow down and even prevent their spread to new user groups and young people in particular. It is also easier to control the substances.
Most of the new substances are synthetic cannabinoids or cathinones
Most of the substances banned are either synthetic cannabinoids or cathinones, which are the most common NPS groups. Synthetic cannabinoids are often more psychoactive than cannabis, and their use carries significant risks. Measuring an accurate dose may be difficult as synthetic cannabinoids are available as pure powders and herbal blends. Synthetic cathinones are related to active ingredients in the khat drug. The best known synthetic cathinone is MDPV, which is classified as a narcotic.
The now banned NPS also include substances which are particularly risky to use since their effects are unknown. As the variety of available substances increases, the risks and dangers of their use also grow. For example, the risk of poisonings rises and treatment becomes more difficult when the effects and dosing of the substances are not known.
Not all the now banned NPS are yet commonly used in Finland or proven to be very dangerous. They are, however, spreading quickly in the EU, and it is important to bring them under control. The substances have been reported to the Early Warning System (EWS) of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Substances are reported to the EWS when there is evidence of their misuse and harmful effects in Europe. Last year 66 new psychoactive substances were reported to EWS, which was less than the previous year. Online marketing and free movement bring these substances easily even to Finland.
Psychoactive substances prohibited on the consumer market are listed in the updated Government Decree 1130/2014.
Elina Kotovirta, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 2951 63977, [email protected]