Offences under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016
Produced in partnership with 25 Bedford Row
Offences under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with 25 Bedford Row provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Offences under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016
  • Background
  • Definitions under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016
  • Offences under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016
  • Sentencing
  • Civil remedies—notices
  • Civil remedies—orders
  • Powers of investigation

Background

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 (PSA 2016) received Royal Assent on 1 February 2016. Originally, the provisions were set to come into force on 6 April 2016, however, following concerns over the enforcement of the provisions, implementation was delayed until 26 May 2016.

Since 2008/2009 the UK has seen increased usage and development of substances that mimic the effects of drugs regulated under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA 1971). It is accepted that these substances are difficult to identify and change on a frequent basis, making them difficult to regulate. They also pose a considerable threat to public health. The Prison and Probation Ombudsman and Chief Inspector of Prisons both expressed their concerns about the use of psychoactive substances in custodial institutions on the lead up to the introduction of this piece of legislation.

In order for a drug to be controlled under MDA 1971, it must undergo a period of assessment by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which will consider what physical and social harms a drug may have. More recently, temporary class drug orders were introduced in 2011 with the aim of reducing the amount of time required to control new substances. Notwithstanding that, the classification of new drugs under MDA 1971 remains a time-consuming and expensive process requiring parliamentary approval.

Following a review

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