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IP/10/1355

Brussels, 20 October 2010

Commission calls for EU-wide ban on ecstasy-like drug mephedrone

The European Commission today called for a dangerous ecstasy-like drug that is still legal in 12 EU countries to be banned. It asked the EU Member States to stop the free spread of the drug "mephedrone" across Europe by submitting it to control measures. Mephedrone is already illegal in 15 EU countries. It has been linked to at least 37 deaths in the UK and Ireland alone.

“Mephedrone is a dangerous drug that is available online and on the street corner. People have already died because of this drug, so I urge governments to move fast to control and criminalise it," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "We have a responsibility to protect young people against dangerous new psychoactive substances like mephedrone.”

Two fatalities have been reported in the EU in which mephedrone appears to be the sole cause of death. There are at least another 37 deaths in the UK and Ireland alone in which mephedrone has been detected in post-mortem samples.

The Commission’s proposal today would ban the manufacturing and the marketing of mephedrone, submitting it to criminal sanctions all over Europe.

EU governments must now decide on whether to put these measures into force, voting by a qualified majority in the Council.

Mephedrone is a stimulant whose physical effects are comparable to those produced by ecstasy (MDMA) or cocaine. It is mostly sold as powder, but also as capsules or tablets, on the internet, from "head shops" and from street-level dealers.

A scientific risk assessment carried out by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) showed that mephedrone can cause acute health problems and lead to dependency, while a few fatalities related to its use have been reported across Europe.

Mephedrone has no established medical value or other known legitimate purpose. It is a controlled substance in 15 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the UK.

Background

The Commission took this decision following a procedure for risk-assessment and control of new psychoactive substances set up by a Council Decision of 10 May 2005 (2005/387/JHA). The Council asked for this risk assessment on 26 May 2010.

For more information

Justice Directorate-General Newsroom:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/news/intro/news_intro_en.htm

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/reding/index_en.htm


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