Conquering Psychoactive Substance (NPS) Use in the UK

Conquering Psychoactive Substance (NPS) Use in the UK Conquering Psychoactive Substance (NPS) Use in the UK Conquering Psychoactive Substance (NPS) Use in the UK Conquering Psychoactive Substance (NPS) Use in the UK

fatal consequences. Moreover, the unprotected NPS selling has led many illicit drug suppliers to enter the market and expand their illegal business.

The existing drug prevention policy of the UK government that is Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) 1971 is seen not to provide any cover or steps regarding NPS. The Act was seen to control specific drugs regarding which information are already available about the extent of associate health harm to be caused by it on the people (, 1971). The MDA has an interim measure where they subject a drug under Temporary Class Drug Order (TCDO) for quickly controlling the substances that are not been fully assessed to determine its extent of harm and declare it to be illicit (, 2019). However, the exiting MDA 1971 under neither of its existing section or order attempted to take legal step to control and manage the production supply and possession of NPS in the market. This is because NPS are not new drugs that are introduced in the market but are psychoactive medication with complicated chemical substances that enhanced the impact of the medication and caused health harm to individuals (Miliano et al., 2018). It led the NPS to be sold openly in shops where the people can easily buy them in open and administer themselves without any restriction for dose (Zwartsen et al., 2019).

In order to resolve and meet the shortcomings created by Misuse of Drug Act (MDA) 1971 regarding NPS, the UK government introduced the new legal policy or Act that is Psychoactive Substance Act 2016. The Act mentions that it is offense to produce, deliver, supply for consumption, import or export, poses with the intent to supply for human consumption and possessing under custodial premises of NPS in the UK to be illegal. In violation of the Act, 7 years of imprisonment is provided to the individuals (, 2016). This aspect of the Act helped to resolve the gap created by the MDA by not providing legal protection regarding the production, sale and supply of NPS in the market in the UK that is harmful to the health of the individuals at time causing fatal consequences in many cases.


In most cases, it is seen that free import and export of certain illicit drug in the country w leads the drug cartels infiltrate the drug trafficking business and ensures harmful drugs that are not protected by law to be supplied in huge amount in the market (Wadsworth et al., 2018). Thu, the introduction of Psychoactive Substance Act 2016 was successful as it helped to create legal direction and obligation to prevent the import and export of NPS in the UK in turn creating lack of open supply of the harmful drug in the market a well as avoid spread of drug cartel business. The open availability of harmful drug leads the people buy them in bulk and use it inappropriately along with market to others for human consumption. This leads to create a hindered health scenario as well as support building up of open drug business which is inappropriate as it is harmful for health of people (Reuter and Pardo, 2017). In this condition, the introduction of Psychoactive Substance Act (PSA) 2016 was successful step because it ensured no production or free supply of any form of the NPS are made in turn protecting the health of the public from getting deteriorated out of easy consumption and supply of the drug.

The benefit of implementing Psychoactive Substance Act 2016 was effective control towards the sell and supply of NPS was achieved. It is evident as the police authority in the UK mentioned that with the implementation of Act, 332 shops were able to be closed from selling NPS and further 31 headshops were also able to be sealed in the UK (Haden et al., 2017). In between March to June 2016, it is reported that 14 websites which were selling NPS reduced to 2 websites. This displayed the positive impact of the Act by reducing the number of sources from which NPS can be availed. Moreover, it was seen that the existing dark webs totally avoided to sell any NPS in the UK even after demand (Al-Banaa et al., 2020). The Act was beneficial as it led to arrest and conviction of many potential drug dealers involved in supplying NPS. This is evident as between May to December 2016, 178 conviction occurred under the PAS 2016 (O'Hagan and McCormack, 2019). The reduction in the number of suppliers through conviction would also inflict fear of legal action among others supplier to avoid selling NPS in turn avoid access of the public to the NPS at all (O'Hagan and McCormack, 2019).

The cons determined to be faced due to implementation of Psychoactive Substance Act 2016 is that it would led the selling of NPS to be done underground. This means that addicts and users of NPS would resort to purchase the NPS from the criminal and through illegal trade (Haden et al., 2017). It is evident as overall use of NPS even after the introduction of the Act was not achieved and the number of deaths increased to 125 in 2018 which is highest compared to other years before and well as after the introduction of the Act (Al-Banaa et al., 2020). The other disadvantage of implementing Psychoactive Substance Act 2016 is that it would raise the overall cost of the drug to be illicitly sold in the black market promoting financial benefit for drug cartel and retailers. This is in turn would create financial turmoil for the public who are addicted to use them out of purchasing them at high prices (Feilding. 2017). It is evident as after the ban of NPS in the UK market, the price of 1.5g of it currently cost £40 which was previously £10 (O'Hagan and McCormack, 2019).

In implementing the Psychoactive Substance Act 2016, it is found that the government associates and authorities drastically banned use and supply of NPS in the UK without considering any scientifically proved and experimented report that mentions NPS is harmful (O'Hagan and McCormack, 2019). This led to the limitation of considering the Act as violation of people’s freedom and liberty to attain pleasure. It is evident as many protested regarding the Act such as Barrister Mathew Scott who mentioned the act to be “ban pleasure” for the public (Scott, 2016). The recommendation to resolve this limitation is that the makers of the Act are to recruit potential scientist in creating a full-proved report that mentions the exact harm to health been caused by NPS and the evidential need of its ban. This is because it would make the people realise the vitality of the Act and accordingly abide by it which is currently not performed in the UK.

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The above discussion mentions that new psychoactive drug (NPS) in the UK has create deteriorated health condition among people by making them face fatal health condition in many conditions. In this condition, Psychoactive Substance Act 2016 is introduced as the existing Misuse of Drug Act 1971 does not provide legal protection and guidance toward use of NPS. The benefit of the Act is that it helps to control open selling and supply of NPS but the disadvantage is that it promoted illegal trade of NPS in black market at high prices. It ha been raised due to the limitation of not presenting evidential report of the harm caused by NPS to the public which is to be immediately resolved by framing a full proved scientific report that present evidence the extent to which NPS are harmful for health.


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