MPs vote in favour of wider designer drug ban


MPs have voted overwhelmingly in favour of an amendment to existing drug legislation to include an automatic ban on new designer drugs that come onto the market.

At the moment, small changes in the composition of a drug mean it takes time for it to be included in the list of banned drugs, a loophole which, in the words of former health minister Ernst Kuipers, has resulted in a “war of attrition between producers, dealers and the authorities”.

In December last year, for example, Zaanstad police had to return some 1,100 kilos of designer drugs worth around €7 million to their owner. Its main ingredient was  the chemical compound 2-mmc, a variant of the banned 3-mmc and therefore legal.

The new legislation, proposed by justice minister Dilan Yeşilgöz, is meant to prevent sluggish legislation from benefitting producers by imposing a ban on some substances derived from psychoactive stimulant 2-phenethylamine and from 4-aminopiperidine. The list may be extended in future.

Not everyone is convinced of the efficacy of the new legislation which has yet to be approved by the senate.

Concerns include more complex policing of designer drugs and users who turning to the black market to buy – possibly substandard – drugs.

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