Thursday 18 October 2012
Guernsey Border Agency response to media enquiry concerning 'Benzo Fury'
Guernsey Press media enquiry:
I have some questions for you on the legal high 'Benzo Fury' following the death of a man in Jersey.
I understand the substance has been made illegal in Jersey now?
What is Guernsey's current stance on this drug?
Will this be reviewed following events in Jersey?
What is the national advice about this drug?
Guernsey Border Agency response:
This substance referred to as "Benzo Fury" or "5-APB and 6-APB" although not a controlled drug in Guernsey is deemed to be an emerging drug of concern and as such subjected to a prohibition on commercial importation, under the Import and Export legislation.
A total of six mis-declaration seizures of the drug were made at the end of 2010. However this drug has not been seized by law enforcement recently and there is no intelligence which indicates that it is currently being encountered in Guernsey. However the law enforcement Agencies work very closely with both Jersey and the UK with regard to risk and threat posed by controlled drugs and those substances emerging which are potentially or evidenced as being deemed harmful. The Guernsey Border Agency and the Drug and Alcohol strategy co-ordinator has consistently given warnings about the dangers to persons using all types of the emerging drugs of concern which mimic the effects of controlled drugs and which can be obtained on the internet. These substances can be very harmful and those taking such substance will have no idea of exactly what chemicals they contain.
Review of emerging substances:
The local Misuse of Drugs Advisory Group (MDAG) Group was set up at the beginning of 2010. It is a committee made up of representatives of the law enforcement agencies, clinical staff, public health advisers and legal advisers from St James Chambers to share information on the local issues, receive advice and information from UK and other sources on the evolving drug threat and risk, the response of the UK (including the UK's ACMD) and other jurisdictions to these changes, and advise HSSD and the Home Dept on changes in legislation needed to meet these challenges or changes. This may be by adding new drugs to the schedules, changing the level of penalties for offences etc. There is a particular emphasis on monitoring the evidence of harm of emerging drugs of concern like "Benzo Fury" and other substances which come to notice, where there are bans imposed under the Import and Export legislation, to see if there should be a recommendation for them to migrate onto the controlled drug schedules, based upon the evidence available.
UK National information:
Benzo Fury is not currently a controlled drug in the United Kingdom. Various UK websites give out information on this substance. This information cannot of course be attributed to the GBA and the GBA cannot take any responsibility for the accuracy of any such information. Benzo Fury has been discovered in tablets tablet or in capsule or powder form. It has been allegedly marketed as a "research chemical" and also as a "stimulant and appetite suppressant". The effects are reported to be similar to Ecstasy and Mephedrone. Severe adverse reactions have been reported: agitated physical state, auditory hallucinations and paranoia.
On "legal highs" generally:-
One of the biggest problems with legal highs is that little, or no, research has gone in to their effects, especially their long-term effects. However, its reasonable to assume that if they produce similar effects to cocaine or ecstasy, they are also likely to carry similar risks. And some will have new risks that we don't yet know about. So, just because a drug is legal to possess, it doesn't mean its safe. For example, substances with similar health risks to cocaine and ecstasy can increase the chances of seizures, comas, and in the worst cases, death. These risks are increased if used with alcohol or other drugs. And some drugs sold as legal highs have actually been found to contain a controlled substance - meaning they aren't legal to possess at all. In fact, several have already been banned, including mephedrone (meow meow) and methoxetamine (mexxy).
Confidential Drugline: 0800 318 318
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