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Scientists say medical research could be halted by Psychoactive Substances Bill

An open letter to Theresa May asks for experimental medicinal products to be exempt

  • Mixmag staff
  • 1 July 2015

The proposed Psychoactive Substances Bill could halt research into treatments for depression, according to researchers.

An open letter has been written to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, asking for "research pharmaceuticals" to be exempt from the legal highs ban, in order to allow the production of new medicines and continuation of "progress neuroscience research".

The bill entered stage two of the committee stage in the House of Lords yesterday, but researchers believe if it's passed in its current form, scientific research into the mental state could be affected.

The letter reads: "Many types of important research could potentially be affected by the bill, particularly in the field of neuroscience, where substances with psychoactive properties are important tools in helping scientists to understand a variety of phenomena, including consciousness, memory, addiction and mental illness."

"The bill, as currently worded, could be interpreted to include experimental substances like these, putting such research at significant risk."

Announced in May, the proposed legislation aims to shut down 250 legal high 'head shops', also making it illegal to sell laughing gas.

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