The EU says it wants to get tougher on “designer drugs”, the legal substances that mimic the highs of banned narcotics such as cocaine or ecstacy.
The European Commission says member states should ban them within ten months, instead of the current two year time frame.
Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding explained the process for making the new drugs illegal: “when we detect one of these very dangerous substances we ban it at once and then we start to analyse the consequences. So first, the ban, then an analysis of the consequences, and then a definite decision on the subsance.”
Many of these chemicals also have other uses in the medical sector or the high-tech industry.
Another hurdle to clear is how to crack down on legal highs bought from abroad. However Reding believes the law can still cover this: “what is illegal offline is ilegal online. And so the judicial systems can act also in order to take off this products from the Internet.”
The Commission’s own data says there is one new substance reported every week inside the EU, underlining how difficult it will be to stamp out so-called designer drugs once and for all.