Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

As of today (May 26th, 2016) the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 has come into force across the UK. This new legislation is intended to stop the supply of so called ‘legal highs’ through a blanket ban on psychoactive substances (excluding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine). Amyl nitrate (poppers) are also not covered by the Novel Psychoactive Substances (often incorrectly referred to as ‘legal highs’) are compounds that are used to mimic illicit substances. However, until now they have been unregulated and untested and are often more harmful than their illicit counterparts. Under the new legislation penalties will be imposed on those who supply a psychoactive substance or possess with intent to supply. The maximum penalty is 7 years imprisonment. Personal use is permitted under the new legislation, however supplying to a friend carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment (much the same as the legislation that covers the personal use of anabolic steroids).

How is your business affected?

For workplace drug testing, the wording of the policy for testing of NPS is just as important as it was before the enforcement of the legislation. This is due to personal use being allowed and the control being under the new legislation and not the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) 1971. Therefore if your policy specifically mentions only drugs covered by the MDA then you are not covered to test for NPS. At Synergy Health we are able to offer you a policy review to ensure you have the correct wording in your policy which, if you deem it necessary, will allow you to carry out testing on employees you suspect to be using NPS. We would recommend that if an employee tests negative on an instant urine drugs screen but you have suspicions regarding NPS use then you consider NPS testing. We test for a huge variety of NPS and our turnaround is 7 working days. Synergy Health can also help inform your employees about the dangers of NPS through our 2 hour Novel Psychoactive Substances awareness training course. If you would like any further information please do not hesitate to call Synergy Health on 01873 856688 or e-mail

Providing Occupational Health & Health Surveillance to Cardiff , Swansea , Newport , Bridgend , Port Talbot , Neath , Pontypridd , Llantwit Major , Llanelli , Bristol & Many More Surrounding Areas