Head shop drug available here to be banned in Britain
A head shop drug available here is set to be banned in Britain after drug advisers there said it could "causeserious harm".
The chemical, naphyrone, emerged in Britain and Ireland as a replacement to the popular head shop drug mephedrone, which was banned in Britain in April and in Ireland in May.
Naphyrone is being sold in a variety of packets, including one labelled NRG. They are on sale in Irish head shops and over the internet.
The news come as research shows that many of the NRG packets – at least those sold online – also contain mephedrone, even though it is a banned drug.
Researchers said this is placing customers, most likely without their knowledge, at risk of breaking the law.
On Wednesday, the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said that naphyrone "could cause real harm due to its potency and associated health effects".
The council recommended it be added to the banned list and urged the British Government to impose an immediate import ban.
Naphyrone and other substances could be banned here later in the year.
The Government’s top drug adviser and chairman of National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD), Dr Des Corrigan, said naphyrone was among a range of chemicals not covered in the banned list in May.
"There is a number of related compounds out there that need to be controlled. I understand the Department of Health is looking at wording to see how naphyrone and other groups of compounds can be added to the list."
He said he had not come across any detailed scientific research on naphyrone
"That is part of the issue, there is no basic information on these substances. Users can’t assume they are safe. And some user reports on naphyrone say it is particularly nasty. As a stimulant there’s always a risk of effects on the heart and risks of a psychological reaction."
He said there were around 50 substances that could be added to a second ban.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said it was aware products containing naphyrone were on sale in head shops.
She said they and other state agencies were monitoring closely "the emergence of new psychoactive substances with a view to bringing these new substances under control".
Meanwhile, research shows mephedrone is still being sold.
Research published in the British Medical Journal found that of 17 drugs bought from British websites since the ban last April 70% contained mephedrone or mephedrone-related products.
Source: Cormac O’Keeffe, The Irish Examiner, 09/07/2010.