legal aspects

Legal approaches to controlling new psychoactive substances:


The number and diversity of new psychoactive substances reported in Europe in recent years represents a major challenge for Europe’s policymakers. This analysis looks at countries’ legal responses to the new drugs phenomenon.

An overview provided by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.




A lot of the new psychoactive substances are already under the statue of the law governing the use and traffic of drugs (BtMG). Although, the major part is not and new substances are appearing regularly.

For the substances under the statue of the law governing the use and traffic of drugs (BtMG) the legal situation is clarified and the dealing with those substances is precisely regulated.

For substances which are not regulated by law so far, the legal aspects are incompletely solved.  In the past there was the tendency that those substances are under the statue of the German drug law (Arzneimittelrecht) as “critical drugs or pharmaceuticals” (“bedenkliche Arzneimittel”).

This practice is currently questioned. A German court passed this question to the European Court of Justice. Until there is a final clarification this remains a grey area of law.

Many of the previous court decisions and opinions can be read up on the following page: Online Suchtstoffrecht.


In our opinion “law” is not a practical approach for addiction problems, but it is the most common one.