Commission Proposes to Ban Seven New Substances

Earlier in December, the European Commission proposed to ban seven new psychoactive substances (NPS) across the European Union, in addition to nine others banned previously during 2017. 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. Chemistry plays a crucial role in tracing and analysing these substances. Moreover, the ethical side of using chemistry to manufacture illegal substances will be one of the topics of the upcoming EuCheMS Course on Ethics.

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