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November 2018 - United Kingdom: Changes in the NPS market since the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

LONDON, United Kingdom – November 2018: The Review of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 (PSA) aims to measure the changes in the new psychoactive substances (NPS) market related to the implementation of the Act. According to the review, the PSA has led to an increase in NPS prices and decrease in their availability. A shift away from retailers to street dealers has been noticed, particularly for synthetic cannabinoids, with the Internet remaining an important source of NPS for users. About 332 retailers were identified as having ceased the sale of NPS, 492 arrests related to NPS were made to December 2016 and 989 seizures to March 2017. This suggests that the Act has not completely eliminated the supply of NPS, given the large numbers of offences and seizures of suspected NPS recorded. The evidence further indicates that there has been a considerable reduction in NPS use among the general adult population since the introduction of the PSA, mainly driven by a reduction in use among those aged 16 to 24.

Although most of the main aims of the PSA appear to have been achieved, the review mentions some areas of concern, which have remained or emerged, such as the supply of NPS by street dealers, the continued development of new substances, the potential displacement from NPS to other harmful substances, and continued high levels of synthetic cannabinoid use among the homeless and prison populations.

Prevalence of NPS use among 16 to 59 year olds in England and Wales in the last 12 months


Source: Home Office, Review of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, November 2018.


For more information, please see:

Home Office, Review of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/756896/Review_of_the_Psychoactive_Substances_Act__2016___web_.pdf

May 2016 – United Kingdom: The Psychoactive Substances Act came into force: https://www.unodc.org/LSS/Announcement/Details/499f1da4-a158-48a2-a995-d752a6ffe79e

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