Latvian president promulgates amendments allowing to impose temporary ban on “legal drugs”

On November 1, President of Latvia Andris Berzins promulgated amendments to the Law on the Legal Trade of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances and Drugs, which allow imposing a temporary ban of up to 12 months and exempting them from trade, according to the government’s official newspaper Latvijas Vestnesis, informs Baltic Course.

This ban will be imposed on substances reported by the European Early Warning System or coroner’s inquests.

Earlier, in September, European Commission took decisive action against legal highs. Under the rules proposed by the Commission on September 17, harmful psychoactive substances will be withdrawn quickly from the market, without jeopardising their various legitimate industrial and commercial uses. The proposals follow warnings from the EU’s Drugs Agency (the EMCDDA) and Europol about the scale of the problem and a 2011 report which found that the EU’s current mechanism for tackling new psychoactive substances needed bolstering.

“‘Legal highs are a growing problem in Europe and it is young people who are most at risk. With a borderless internal market, we need common EU rules to tackle this problem,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner. “Today we are proposing strong EU legislation on new psychoactive substances so that the EU can provide a faster and more effective response, including the ability to immediately remove harmful substances from the market on a temporary basis.”

New psychoactive substances are a growing problem. The number of new psychoactive substances detected in the EU has tripled between 2009 and 2012. So far in 2013, more than one new substance has been reported every week. It is a problem that requires a European response. The substances are increasingly available over the internet and rapidly spread between EU countries: 80% of new psychoactive substances are detected in more than one EU country.