Legal Responses to New Psychoactive Substances in Europe

Brendan Hughes and T Blidaru
European Legal Database on Drugs
February 2009

publicationThis paper starts from the premise that, when a new psychoactive substance appears on the licit/illicit market in a country in Europe, legislators need to choose whether to bring it under control of the drug laws, and for public health reasons they may need to do so quickly. A comparative study of the systems and procedures finds that there are a variety of control methods available in the different countries, including the analogue and generic systems, as well as temporary emergency and rapid permanent scheduling procedures.

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These may be effective immediately, within several days, or needing up to a year to process. A glance at the risk assessment systems that might be used before or during these procedures illustrates an even spread of the possible options across countries, from no system to a full consultation of independent scientists.