NRG-1 'legal high' drug is banned

Image caption Mephedrone was banned in April but similar "highs" are being sold legally

The substance NRG-1, a so-called legal high, has been banned and made a Class B drug, the Home Office has said.

It follows advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

The ACMD said the chemical naphyrone, which is sold as NRG-1, could "cause real harm due to its potency and associated health effects".

The government said a ban on importing it into the UK had already been passed and further legislation would be passed at the earliest opportunity.

It will include a generic definition to prevent drug manufacturers tweaking the chemical structure in an attempt to get around the law.

Health risk

Minister for Crime Prevention James Brokenshire said: "I am deeply concerned about the use of this potentially dangerous 'legal high' and I want to make it illegal as soon as possible.

"We have already taken action to ban its import into the UK and we will continue to target those unscrupulous dealers who try to bring these substances on to our streets.

"I also want to send a clear message to anyone considering buying a 'legal high' - just because they are advertised as 'legal' does not mean that they are safe and they may not be legal. You are putting your health at risk and could be committing a criminal offence."

Last week, when the ACMD's advice was published, its chairman, Prof Les Iversen, said: "Users of 'legal highs' should be aware that just because a substance is being advertised as legal does not make it safe, nor may it be legal.

"Test purchasing has demonstrated that what you think you are buying is often not what is in the packet. The harms and effects of your purchase may be different and/or greater than you expect."

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