Six more synthetic opioids banned

The government is to ban six new synthetic opioids, it has announced, following the controlling of 14 nitazenes as class A drugs earlier this year.

synthetic opioids ban
Any new nitazenes detected in the UK will automatically become class A substances

The government has written to ACMD to say it will accept their advice to control six acyl piperazine opioids and derivatives – including 2-methyl-AP-237 – as class A drugs. To ‘future proof’ the drug laws in terms of responding to emerging threats, it has also accepted ACMD’s advice to add a generic definition for nitazenes. This means that any new nitazenes detected in the UK will automatically become class A substances. The government will also be controlling 15 novel benzodiazepines and related compounds as class C drugs, it added.

Chris Philp
Chris Philp

‘We are highly alert to the threat posed by these drugs which is why we are enhancing our surveillance and early warning,’ said crime and policing minister Chris Philp. ‘The devastation we have seen in other countries from synthetic opioids cannot be allowed to happen here in the UK. This is another step in our response. Not only are we sending a clear message that the consequences for peddling these drugs will be severe, but we are adapting our legislation to ensure we are able to respond rapidly to any new emerging threat.’

Meanwhile, the sector has been responding to the government’s announcements of its expansion of take-home naloxone provision and the first ever national workforce plan for the drug and alcohol field.

The government has announced an expansion of take-home naloxone provision

While the naloxone expansion was welcome it was not a panacea, warned Forward CEO Mike Trace. ‘The actions the government have outlined indicate that this public health crisis is being taken seriously,’ he said. ‘If we put naloxone in the right hands, the greater the likelihood that we can save lives. But that is not all – evidence suggests that many of those who die from a fatal overdose from heroin and other illicit opioids had previously experienced a non-fatal overdose, some on multiple occasions. There are critical moments associated with fatal drug poisoning but opportunities to identify people at high risk are being missed. Whilst the pressures on the system are immense, every addiction related death must be viewed as avoidable.’

WithYou’s head of policy, Robin Pollard, added that while the new workforce plan would help to recruit and retain the skilled staff needed to deliver the government’s drug strategy ambitions, this would not be possible without guaranteeing a ‘sustained long-term investment package for the duration of the drugs strategy’ to ensure that more people ‘can get the support they need’.

We value your input. Please leave a comment, you do not need an account to do this but comments will be moderated before they are displayed...