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January 2009, Austria

Austria classified 'smoking mixes' containing certain synthetic cannabinoids under non-criminal medicines legislation, and this proved effective in stopping the open marketing and distribution of 'Spice' in the country, while avoiding criminalising users.

April 2009, Luxembourg

Luxembourg added a group definition of synthetic cannabinoids to its drug law, covering three named substances and 'other synthetic agonists of cannabinoid receptors or synthetic cannabinomimetics'.

November 2009, Hungary

A scientific risk assessment panel was created to provide the evidence base for decisions to control new substances.

March 2010, Netherlands

Mephedrone was classed as subject to the pharmaceutical laws and therefore could not be distributed without a licence.

April 2010, United Kingdom

Regulations requiring that goods or food on sale are clearly and accurately labelled were used to stop the sale of mephedrone labelled as bath salts and plantfood.

April 2010, Italy

Regulations requiring that goods or food on sale are clearly and accurately labelled in relation to their expected use were invoked to confiscate products containing synthetic cannabinoids (eg 'Spice') that were not labelled in the national language.

August 2010, Ireland

An innovative new law, the ‘Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act 2010, makes it a criminal offence to advertise, sell or supply, for human consumption, psychoactive substances not specifically controlled under existing legislation. Learn more…

October 2010, Poland

Consumer safety laws were enforced by the State Sanitary Inspectorate and police. Following 3 500 inspections over one weekend, 1 200 shops were closed.

November 2010, Poland

Poland modified its drug law’s legal definition of a ‘substitute drug’ (a substance used instead of a drug or for the same purposes) and updated the health protection law, so that it could be used when there was suspicion that a substitute drug posed a health threat. Learn more…

February 2011, Romania

In February 2011, a Romanian government order set up multidisciplinary teams of representatives from ministries (e.g. health, interior, agriculture) and health and consumer protection agencies. The teams should enforce all existing laws in their respective fields, such as smoking bans and inaccurate product labelling, to stem the distribution of ‘harmful unregulated psychoactive substances’. Learn more…

April 2011, Sweden

The new Act on the Destruction of Certain Substances of Abuse Dangerous to Health authorizes a public prosecutor to seize and order the destruction of certain substances which can be decided as, or can be presumed to be listed as, narcotics or goods injurious to health.

May 2011, Italy

Italy introduced an analogue classification of synthetic cannabinoids under the drug control law in May 2011. In December this was broadened and a group classification of cathinones was also added.

June 2011, Finland

In the update to the Narcotics Act, a scientific risk assessment panel was created to provide the evidence base for decisions to control new substances. Learn more…

June 2011, Cyprus

Generic groups of synthetic cannabinoids, piperazines, and phenethylamines were added to the list of substances controlled under drugs legislation.

August 2011, Lithuania

Group definitions of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones were added to the Lithuanian drug control legislation.

November 2011, United Kingdom

In its Misuse of Drugs Act, the United Kingdom added a procedure allowing temporary class drug orders, under which named substances could be quickly controlled under drug laws for up to one year. Learn more…

November 2011, Romania

Following the earlier Government Order, a new law requires a specific permit to sell any product likely to provoke psychoactive effects similar to those caused by substances controlled under drug laws. Distribution without a permit could result in several years in prison. Learn more…

December 2011, Portugal

The Economy and Food Safety Authority (ASAE) confiscated over 65 000 packages of substances from fourteen 'smart' shops due to consumer health concerns.

January 2012, Austria

In Austria, the new ‘Act on new psychoactive substances’ criminalises supply of substances listed in a regulation by the Minister for Health. They should have the potential for ‘psychoactive effects’ and be likely to be abused by certain sections of society and pose a potential threat to consumer health. Learn more…

April 2012, Hungary

A new Government Decree created a new Schedule to existing drug control legislation, to list new drugs appearing on the market. To be listed, the substance will have undergone a rapid assessment which must conclude that the substance can affect the central nervous system, and the substance has no therapeutic use. Supply will be a crime. The drug must then be risk-assessed within one year. Learn more…

June 2012, Denmark

Group (generic) definitions of cathinones, cannabinoids, phenethylamines and tryptamines were added to drug control legislation.

August 2012, France

A generic definition of cathinones was added to the list of substances controlled by the drug legislation.

February 2013, Norway

A new Regulation on narcotic drugs was published, omitting earlier references to 'derivatives' which had proven unclear in prosecution, and instead including generic group definitions for synthetic cannabinoids, cathinones, phenethylamines and tryptamines.

April 2013, Portugal

The decree-law 54/2013 established a list of psychoactive substances that pose a public health risk comparable to controlled drugs, and prohibits their advertising and distribution, punishable by administrative fines and closure of premises.

February 2013, Latvia

An amendment to the list of drugs under control now includes several groups of substances defined by generic descriptions of chemical structure.

October 2013, Slovakia

An amendment to the drug law allows the Health Minister to add a substance to a new list for up to 3 years if reasonable suspicion exists that there is abuse, accompanied by harmful reactions. Unauthorised distribution will result in an administrative fine.

November 2013, Latvia

An amendment to the drug law allows the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control to prohibit distribution of a new psychoactive substance for up to 1 year if reported to the EU Early Warning System or by one of five national authorities. Unauthorised distribution will result in an administrative fine.

January 2014, Czech Republic

An amendment to the drug law means that controlled substances are listed in a new Government regulation, rather than in the parliamentary law itself. This should reduce the time to add new substances in future.

January 2014, Hungary

Possession of more than a small amount (10g) of substances listed as NPS, even with no intent to supply, was criminalised. The maximum sentence is 3 years' imprisonment.

April 2014, Latvia

Supply related offences with NPS are now criminal, punishable by up to 2 years prison (or 5 if causing grave consequences).

November 2014, Latvia

Personal possession of NPS is now an administrative offence punishable by warning or fine up to €280.

December 2014, Finland

Finland extended its Narcotics Act to cover also “psychoactive substances banned from the consumer market”, with supply related offences punishable by up to 1 year prison.

December 2014, Croatia

An amendment to the list of drugs under control now includes several groups of substances defined by generic descriptions of chemical structure.

January 2015, Turkey

An amendment to the list of drugs under control now includes several groups of substances defined by generic descriptions of chemical structure.

May 2016, United Kingdom

The Psychoactive Substances Act prohibits production and supply of any psychoactive substance (which 'affects a person's mental functioning or emotional state'), when there is intention that it will be consumed for its psychoactive effects. a href="http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/node/2433">Learn more (see page 5)...

Page last updated: Monday, 30 May 2016