Psychoactive Substances Act came into force on 26 May 2016

A blanket ban on so-called ‘legal highs’ and tough new enforcement powers came into force on 26 May 2016.

The Psychoactive Substances Act protects young people by banning any production, supply and importation or exportation for human consumption of these potentially dangerous drugs, linked to the deaths of 144 people in the UK in 2014 alone.

The act provides a range of criminal and civil sanctions including new powers for police and tough sentences of up to 7 years for offenders.

The UK will be the first country in the world to put in place a rigorous system of testing to demonstrate that a substance is capable of having a psychoactive effect, providing evidence to support civil action and prosecutions.

Minister for Preventing Abuse, Exploitation and Crime Karen Bradley said:

  • Psychoactive substances shatter lives and we owe it to all those who have lost loved ones to do everything we can to eradicate this abhorrent trade.
  • This act will bring to an end the open sale on our high streets of these potentially harmful drugs and deliver new powers for law enforcement to tackle this issue at every level in communities, at our borders, on UK websites and in our prisons.
  • The message is clear – so-called ‘legal highs’ are not safe. This act will ban their sale and ensure unscrupulous traders who profit from them face up to 7 years in prison.