Prohibition 2016: Assessing the UK's Psychoactive Substances Act

May 24, 2016

Passed in 2016 in the United Kingdom and due to come into force on 26 May, the Psychoactive Substances Act bans all new psychoactive substances (NPS) except those specifically exempted, such as alcohol and tobacco. The Act has attracted much criticism from scientists and experts. But what better alternative exists? The scientific journal Addiction has today [25 May] published the opening statement in a debate by leading addiction researchers from around the globe.

The opening statement, by Prof Peter Reuter and Bryce Pardo of the School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, outlines three problems with the Psychoactive Substances Act's total ban of NPS: On the other hand, Reuter and Pardo point out that total prohibition of NPS has two major potential advantages: Professor Reuter says: "Given the prominence of the United Kingdom in drug policy affairs internationally, the choice made by the UK is likely to reverberate throughout the world. The Expert Panel that developed the Psychoactive Substances Bill identified several alternative approaches but did not have sufficient time to study them fully. So little is known about the subsequent Act's feasibility and consequences that it would have been better to delay until more effort was made to assess all the alternatives."
-end-
For editors:

Reuter P and Pardo B (2016) Can New Psychoactive Substances be Effectively Regulated? An Assessment of the British Psychoactive Substances Bill. Addiction 111: doi: 10.1111/add.13439

This paper is free to download for one month after publication from the Wiley Online Library: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291360-0443/earlyview or by contacting Jean O'Reilly, Editorial Manager, Addiction, jean@addictionjournal.org, tel +44 (0)20 7848 0853.

Interviews with co-author Prof Peter Reuter: contact him at the University of Maryland, USA by email (preuter@umd.edu) or telephone (1 240 988 6605).

Addiction is a monthly international scientific journal publishing peer-reviewed research reports on alcohol, illicit drugs, tobacco, and gambling as well as editorials and other debate pieces. Owned by the Society for the Study of Addiction, it has been in continuous publication since 1884. Addiction is the number one journal in the 2015 ISI Journal Citation Reports Ranking in the Substance Abuse Category (Social Science Edition).

Society for the Study of Addiction

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