Temporary class drug
A temporary class drug is a relatively new status for controlled drugs, which has been adopted in some jurisdictions, notably New Zealand and the United Kingdom, to attempt to bring newly synthesised designer drugs under legal control. The controlled drug legislation in these jurisdictions requires drug scheduling decisions to follow an evidence-based process, where the harms of the drug are assessed and reviewed so that an appropriate legal status can be assigned. Since many designer drugs sold in recent years have had little or no published research that could help inform such a decision, they have been widely sold as "legal highs", often for months, before sufficient evidence accumulates to justify placing them on the controlled drug schedules.
This situation has been deemed to be undesirable, as every time a designer drug has been banned, novel compounds with similar effects have been quickly developed and brought to market, often with worse health consequences reported than the original compound. The temporary class drug status has been developed to circumvent the evidential requirements and allow drugs to be banned temporarily as soon as they are deemed by authorities to be causing harm to individuals or society. The temporary ban lasts for a period of 1 year, after which the drug would in theory be made legal again, if sufficient evidence to ban it permanently had not been forthcoming. During the period of the temporary ban, the temporary class drugs are treated equivalently to established illegal drugs, though with reduced or absent penalties for personal use amounts, and the main focus of enforcement being on importation and sale of the drugs.
Initially, only the dissociative arylcyclohexylamine derivative methoxetamine was banned as a temporary class drug in the UK, effective from 5 April 2012. On 26 February 2013 methoxetamine was banned as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act along with a large number of other arylcyclohexylamine derivatives under a 'catch-all' chemical structure clause. "In an attempt to prevent legal high manufacturers looking for a new ketamine analogue to sell, the government has placed countless other ketamine analogues into Class B and Schedule 1."
On 10 June 2013, a total of 10 benzofuran and indole analogues and four NBOMe hallucinogens were classified as Temporary Class Drugs in the UK following an ACMD recommendation. Specifically these include 5-APB, 6-APB, 5-APDB, 6-APDB and their N-methyl derivatives 5-MAPB, 6-MAPB, 5-MAPDB and 6-MAPDB, as well as 5-IT and its isomer 6-IT, plus NBOMe-2C-C, NBOMe-2C-B, NBOMe-2C-I and NBOMe-2C-D. This means that sale and import of the named substances are criminal offences and are treated as for Class B drugs.
In New Zealand, 35 drugs have been banned as temporary class drugs since August 2011, 24 of which have subsequently had the temporary ban renewed for a further year after reaching the end of the initial one-year ban period. These include; JWH-018, JWH-022, JWH-073, JWH-081, JWH-122, JWH-201, JWH-203, JWH-210, JWH-250, JWH-302, AM-694, AM-2201, RCS-4, RCS-4 butyl homologue, 2-methoxy isomer of RCS-4, and 2-methoxy isomer of RCS-4 butyl homologue, which were banned on 16 August 2011, JWH-019, JWH-200 and AM-1220, which were banned on 14 October 2011, AM-2233, banned on 29 December 2011, AM-1248, AM-2232 and UR-144, banned on 6 April 2012, and the stimulant methylhexanamine, banned on 9 April 2012. Another four cannabinoid compounds, namely CB-13, MAM-2201, AKB48 and XLR-11, were banned on 13 July 2012. A further cannabinoid compound NNE1 was banned from 8 November 2012. Two more cannabinoids APICA (also known as 2NE1) and its 5-fluoropentyl derivative STS-135 were banned from 22 November 2012. Another cannabinoid EAM-2201 was banned from 6 December 2012. Another stimulant, the phenyltropane derivative RTI-126, was banned from 27 December 2012. Two more cannabinoids QUCHIC (also known as BB-22) and 5F-AKB48 were banned from 9 May 2013.
- "First 'legal high' to be banned under new powers". UK Home Office. 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
- "Legal high drug 'mexxy' banned under new government powers". The Guardian (London). 2012-03-28.
- Temporary Class Drug Orders. UK Home Office
- "MXE is now a Class B drug". Retrieved 2013-07-05.
- "Temporary class drug order report on 5-6APB and NBOMe compounds". UK Home Office. 4 Jun 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- "'NBOMe' and 'Benzofury' banned". UK Home Office. 4 Jun 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
- Temporary Class Drug Notices. New Zealand Ministry of Health
- New Zealand Government Gazette, Notice Number 7051, 1 November 2012
- New Zealand Government Gazette, Notice Number 7444, 15 November 2012
- Dunne bans substance found in K2 testing. Press Release: New Zealand Government. Monday 26 November 2012, Scoop.co.nz
- New Zealand Government Gazette, Notice Number 8453, 20 December 2012
- Dunne bans further two substances found in K2. Press Release: New Zealand Government. Tuesday, 30 April 2013