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Federal government includes 28 active substances in the 26th new regulation of the Narcotics Act
The regulation of the German Narcotics Act (BtMG) was expanded to include 28 psychoactive substances. With this step, the federal government wants to take a more aggressive approach against designer drugs or “legal highs”. Critics complain that the new regulation is insufficient because numerous active ingredients have not been included.
The designer drugs are often played down in special "head shops" and online shops as "herbal mixtures", "bath additives" or as "air fresheners". However, the inconspicuous commercial terms hide intoxicating and often artificially produced substances, some of which can have serious health effects on mostly young consumers. Almost every week, new products with similar compositions appear on the market. The manufacturers try to circumvent possible bans.
28 psychoactive substances banned In cooperation with the Federal Drugs Commissioner, the Federal Ministry of Health has now included 28 psychoactive substances in the ordinance of the Narcotics Act (BtMG). "In large parts, the new regulation has come into force today," said the Federal Government's Drugs Commissioner, Mechthild Dyckmans, when the regulation was presented. Accordingly, the designer drugs referred to as “legal highs” are no longer legal “because their active ingredients are now banned”. Until now, numerous products were legally available for purchase, so this should “finally be over,” says Dyckmans.
"The synthetic derivatives of amphetamine, cocaine, cannabinoids and cathinone were banned," said Dyckmans. The latter substance can also be found in khat leaves. The leaves are consumed in Yemen and some parts of Africa as a "folk drug". In these countries, consumers see the plant as a kind of stimulus, comparable to the coffee drunk in Germany.
A pain reliever was also added to the list of bans. Also affected by the 26th new regulation of the BtMG is the pain reliever "Tilidin", which is distributed in liquid form from the opioid group. With a transition period of six months, the drug is included in the regulation. "This is to finally prevent drug abuse," as a spokesman for the federal government emphasized. The active ingredient "Tilidine" is actually used in hospitals for severe pain. In the past, numerous media had reported that especially adolescents misused the drug as a drug with the help of counterfeit drugs.
Incalculable damage to health The consumption of the currently banned synthetically manufactured active ingredients is associated with "incalculable health risks", as Dyckmans explained. Because the manufacturers of designer drugs usually react very quickly to bans and simply invent new substances, the ban on further variants and active substances is already in the planning stage. Dyckmans confirmed corresponding media reports that speak of a "race" between producers and health authorities. However, the authorities will continue to ensure that new drug variants are also withdrawn from the market, the drug commissioner said.
Not only since the admission to the BtMG, the authorities have been observing the laboratory modifications of already banned drug substances. Numerous patient cases were known in which the users of the substances mentioned suffered from rapid heartbeat, nausea and vomiting, acute circulatory failure, loss of orientation, paralysis, drug-induced psychoses and delusions. According to the information, at least three patients have died from the consumption of fashion drugs in Germany in the past three years.
Prohibitions show effects According to official information, such prohibitions actually have an effect because the synthetic drugs that were previously easy to acquire are no longer available. The Federal Government's Drugs and Addiction Report 2011 reports, for example, from a representative survey of young people in Germany that consumption among 15 to 18-year-old students fell from three to one percent after a ban. In 2009, state authorities had banned some of the herbal mixtures that had been “legally” in circulation until then. This was preceded by reports from numerous clinics, which reported in some cases severe health damage to mostly adolescent patients after consuming substances containing cannabinoids.
Inadequate new regulation of the BtMG critics criticize that despite the inclusion of numerous substances in the Narcotics Act, the Federal Government is “self-adulterated”. "If a substance is banned, five new ones appear afterwards," writes, for example, the "Hanf Journal" initiative. Such artificially produced drugs can be ordered "in kilos" on the Internet because numerous substances are not listed in the new amendment to the BtMG. The initiative names cannabinoids such as AKB-48, 5FUR-144, UR-144 and so-called research chemicals such as A-PVP, Pentedron, Pentylon, 4-mec, methoxetamine, 4-fa, 5-meo-mipt, 3, 4-dmmc, 2-fma, 2-dpmp, 6-apb, ethylphenidate and methiopropamine. According to the initiative, the compositions mentioned can still be acquired. (sb)
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