Today, the reinforced rules on new psychoactive substances (NPS) start applying across the EU. The new rules will allow Europe to respond much faster to the challenges posed by NPS.

“Over the last ten years, the emergence of new psychoactive substances has presented major challenges to public health and safety. These are often highly toxic synthetic substances which become all the more dangerous in easily adapting and changing markets. This is why we need effective legal and operational tools to enable swifter action to ban these substances from the EU, in order to prevent serious health damage, and sometimes even death. The new EU rules will better protect our citizens across the EU from these dangerous drugs — in particular young people,” said Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The new rules introduce shorter deadlines from the moment a dangerous drug is identified to the moment it is banned. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) will continue to play a leading role in early warning and monitoring of NPS, and will initiate a scientific investigation into any new substance causing concern at EU level. The NPS can cause extremely serious health and social harms, including acute intoxications and deaths.  In 2017, 51 NPS were reported for the first time — a rate of around one per week, prompting the EU to ban a number of them.