Ketamine 'alternative' referred to drug experts
- Published on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 15:12
- Posted by Scott Buckler
The government has sought advice from independent drug experts on whether to temporarily ban a substance being sold as 'safe ketamine'
The Home office has referred methoxetamine (also known as mexxy or MXE) to the advisory council on the misuse of drugs (ACMD) for its views on controlling it under a new temporary control power.
The move comes in light of concern about the potential harms of the substance and its availability in the UK, where it is being advertised and sold as a safe alternative to the class C drug ketamine.
The ACMD now has up to 20 working days to investigate the substance and make a recommendation to the government whether methoxetamine should be subject to a temporary drug class order, which would make the substance illegal for 12 months.
If an order is introduced, the ACMD will continue to investigate its harms and within 12 months advise the government whether methoxetamine should be placed under permanent control under the misuse of drugs act 1971.
Minister for crime prevention and antisocial behaviour reduction Lord Henley said:
'We have become increasingly concerned at the potential harms of methoxetamine, and continue to work with our drug experts on the ACMD to decide on the best way to protect public health.
'Methoxetamine is one of the new psychoactive substances that has been identified by our forensic early warning system, which detects new substances in the UK.
'It is important for those considering using these drugs to understand that just because a substance is legal, it does not mean it is safe and should not be seen as a safer alternative to illegal substances.'