The government has announced a 12 month ban on two “legal high” chemical compounds marketed as NBOMe and Benzo Fury – while drugs experts assess their impact.
NBOMe, described as a psychedelic “research chemical”, creates a high similar to that produced by LSD (acid).
Benzo Fury mimics the effects of stimulant amphetamines such as speed, whilst also having some ecstasy-like effects including experiencing sounds and colours more intensely.
The two substances are among 73 new psychoactive synthetic drugs that appeared on the market last year. Both are sold online and imitate the effects of more traditional illegal drugs.
Home Office Minister, Jeremy Browne, said the temporary-class drug order, “will protect the public and give our independent experts time to prepare advice, while enabling law enforcement partners to target traffickers.”
He also issued a warning to users, that: “Although (these drugs) are described as ‘legal highs’, they are by no means safe.”
Professor Les Iversen, the home secretary’s chief adviser on illicit drugs, warned users of the dangers of NBOMe, saying the LSD-style psychedelic sold as a “research chemical” was much more powerful than its 1960s equivalent.
Benzo Fury, also marketed as “research chemical pellets”, can be bought from online shops for £10 per pellet. Calls in the UK for the drug to be banned followed the death of Alex Heriot, 19, at the Rockness music festival in Inverness last June. However, a postmortem in January identified ecstasy as the cause of his death.
The temporary banning order will come into effect on 10 June. Following this date, those caught making, supplying or importing the drugs could face up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.