Two so-called 'legal' highs, Mexxy and Black Mamba, have lost their moniker after being added to the list of class B banned substances.
The substances were previously declassified and therefore could be bought and sold legally, lending them their title as 'legal highs'. The drugs were commonly traded on the internet, providing those who took them with similar experiences to substances banned under drug laws.
Under the laws surrounding class B drugs, users will now face criminal sanctions, with a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail.
Methoxetamine, or 'Mexxy' is a derivative of the equine tranquiliser, Ketamine, which acts as an antagonist of the N-methyl d-aspartate receptors in the brain, sites commonly targeted by anaesthetics. Other drugs to target these receptors include nitrous oxide, which forms part of the 'gas and air' given to women in labour.
'Mexxy' was first sold online two years ago, at a cost of around $15 per gram. It is thought to have effects similar to ketamine, with users reporting a 'dissociative' state where mind is detached from body.
Black Mamba is a form of synthetic cannabinoid combined with the plant Damiana, engineered to mimic the effects of the active component of cannabis, THC. The drug provides the same experience as that of cannabis, but synthetic cannabinoids tend to bind more strongly to brain receptors, providing a more intense experience.
Jeremy Browne is the Crime Prevention Minister:
"People who take 'legal highs' are taking serious risks with their lives because often they do not know what they are taking and the drugs may contain harmful substances."
The drug Mexxy has recently been linked to two deaths earlier this year, and police have previously warned about the harmful effects of Black Mamba.
"The UK is addressing the harm caused by 'legal highs' by outlawing not just individual drugs, but whole families of related substances that have the potential to cause serious harm" he added.
Legal highs Mexy and black mamba to be banned (London Evening Standard)