A trio of alternative drug products that promise a “legal high” in lieu of taking drugs like marijuana, amphetamines and GHB will soon be banned by the British government, the Guardian reported Aug. 25.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson has endorsed a recommendation from the government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and signaled that the drugs GBL, Spice, and BZP will be banned by the end of the year. GBL is a currently legal alternative to the club drug GHB, while Spice is marketed as a marijuana substitute and BZP is an amphetamine copycat.
Spice will be listed as a Class B drug, carrying up to five years in prison and fines for users and up to 14 years in prison for dealers. GBL and BZP will be listed as Class C drugs, with users facing up to two years in prison and dealers facing 14 years incarceration.
The U.K.’s Home Office also will launch an educational campaign on the drugs. “There is a perception that many of the so called ’legal highs’ are harmless,” Johnson aid. “However, in some cases people can be ingesting dangerous industrial fluids or smoking chemicals that can be even more harmful than cannabis.”
Some critics said that criminalizing the alternative drugs will only encourage users to return to taking marijuana, GHB and amphetamines.