Decree bans 23 new designer drugs

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 10.3.2016 13.48
Press release 28/2016

A Government decree will prohibit the production, import, storage, keeping for sale and handling over of 21 new psychoactive substances, or designer drugs, which are currently not monitored. Possession or use of the substances will not be punishable. In practical terms, these substances will be added to the list of psychoactive substances banned on the consumer market. In addition, two common drugs in medical use will be transferred to that list from the list of medicines. The decree will take effect on 1 April 2014.

The main part of the substances to be banned belong to either synthetic cannabinoids or cathinones, which are the most common groups of all designer drugs. These substances are continuously appearing in designer drug markets at a fast pace. Synthetic cannabinoids often are substances whose psychoactive effects are stronger than those of cannabis and the use of which carries risks. Their accurate dosing can be difficult because the substance is available as a pure powder as well as in various herbal mixtures. Synthetic cathinones are related to the active substances of the khat drug. The best known cathinone designer drug is MDPV, which has been classified as a narcotic.

The drugs that will be transferred from the list of medicines to the list of banned psychoactive substances are Salvia Divinorum and Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa). These are commonly used for intoxication purposes.

Not all the designer drugs that will now be prohibited are in established use in Finland, and not all have proved to be especially dangerous. However, their use is rapidly expanding within the EU; therefore, it is important to bring the substances under control. Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea, which is responsible for the evaluation of designer drugs, has proposed that these substances and drugs be added to the list of psychoactive substances banned from the consumer market. The substances have been reported for monitoring in the early warning system of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Substances which have been observed to be misused in Europe and giving rise to harmful effects are added to the system. Last year, the system was notified of 100 new designer drugs.

Finland's Narcotics Act was amended in December of 2014 in such a way that new psychoactive substances, or so-called designer drugs, were brought under control under the Narcotics Act. Substances possibly harmful to health which so far at least have not been known to have caused harmful effects similar to those caused by substances classified as narcotics are to be added to the Government degree of psychoactive substances banned from the consumer market. Substances which are assessed to cause harmful effects like those caused by narcotic substances can still be classified as narcotics under the Government decree.

Psychoactive substances prohibited on the consumer market are listed in the updated Government Decree 1130/2014.

Further information

Ministerial Adviser Elina Kotovirta, tel. +358 (0)2951 63977 [email protected]

List of 23 new designer drugs (on the website of Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea)

Government decree (1130/2014) on psychoactive substances prohibited on the consumer market

Policy on illegal drugs

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)