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MEMO/10/646

Brussels, 3 December 2010

Commission achieves EU-wide ban on ecstasy-like drug mephedrone

The EU’s 27 Justice Ministers agreed today to ban a dangerous ecstasy-like drug that is still legal in 12 EU countries. The European Commission proposed on 20 October that governments act to stop the free spread of the drug "mephedrone" across Europe by submitting it to control measures (see IP/10/1355). Mephedrone is already illegal in 15 EU countries. It has been linked to at least 37 deaths in the UK and Ireland alone.

It is good to see that EU governments are prepared to take swift action to ban this dangerous drug,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. “This drug is sold over the internet, often behind innocent names like plant food or bath salts. Young people should not be fooled. These drugs are harmful. The EU has shown today that we can act quickly to stop this kind of drug from taking more lives." 

The decision today bans the manufacturing and the marketing of mephedrone, submitting it to criminal sanctions all over Europe.

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.

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 Justice Ministers’ decision follows 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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