Dan Jarvis – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Home Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Dan Jarvis on 2015-11-05.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of recent trends in the use of legal highs.

Mike Penning

The 2014 report of the New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) Review Expert Panel concluded that “after years of stable and declining drug use, the emergence of NPS has been a ‘game changer’”. An accompanying report (New Psychoactive Substances in England: A review of the evidence) used data from the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) to examine the prevalence of use of NPS. It indicated that mephedrone was the most prevalent NPS, though use among adults aged 16-59 had fallen from 1.3% in 2010/11 to 0.6% in 2013/14 (use of mephedrone stood at 0.5% in 2014/15). Mephedrone was controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in April 2010. According to the 2014/15 CSEW, 0.9% of people aged 16-59 used an NPS in the last year. This was the first year that the CSEW collected data on the use of NPS generally (as opposed to specific substances).

The Psychoactive Substances Bill currently before Parliament introduces a blanket ban on the trade in psychoactive substances. The Bill will confer significant new powers on the police and other law enforcement agencies to restrict the supply of psychoactive substances.