Alan Travis

October 25, 2011

All “legal highs” or designer drugs such as mephedrone (or miaow miaow) that mimic the effects of established illegal drugs should be automatically banned, according to the government’s official advisers on illicit substances.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) says the government needs to adopt a much tougher US-style system of controls. The recommendation comes after claims that new designer drugs have played a role in 42 deaths in the past two years.

Prof Les Iversen, the ACMD chair, said tougher controls were needed to prevent suppliers from simply tweaking the chemistry of newly banned substances to get around the law.

More than 40 new legal highs have been identified in the past two years, often emerging from laboratories in south-east Asia where chemists design new compounds that replicate the effects of already banned substances such as cannabis, amphetamine or ecstasy.

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