EU targets new toxic substances

EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

“New psychoactive substances pose an increasingly serious threat to public health,” said Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos.

EU targets new toxic substances


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The European Commission has proposed the ban of seven new psychoactive substances (NPS), in addition to the nine others banned earlier this year.

These toxic substances can cause severe harm to health and can even lead to death, and pose a growing threat to public health in Europe.

“New psychoactive substances pose an increasingly serious threat to public health,” said Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos.

“In Europe, we work to make sure that we stay one step ahead of this fast-moving and dangerous business. More needs to be done to keep European citizens safe, especially the younger generations. We need to ensure not only that these new drugs cannot be bought, but also that they don’t appear on the market in the first place. I now call for the Council to take a swift decision in order to speedily remove those new drugs from the market.”

The seven new psychoactive substances, including those commonly known as “spice”, “herbal incense” and “legal weed”, belong to two categories: four of them are synthetic cannabinoids, with effects similar to cannabis but much more toxic, while the other three substances are synthetic opioids closely related to fentanyl, a substance controlled at international level.

According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), these toxic substances are associated with over 170 deaths across the EU and a number of acute intoxications.

Currently, these seven new psychoactive substances are not covered by international drugs controls and remain a serious challenge to European public health, especially for young people.

The Commission considers that there are grounds for subjecting all seven substances to control measures across the EU. The Commission’s proposal will now be discussed in the Council, which, in consultation with the European Parliament, will decide whether to adopt the measures.

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