The European Economic and Social Council (EESC) organized a public hearing on new psychoactive substances in Brussels on Wednesday.

A wide range of people - decision makers, researchers and civil society activists - were invited to give an input to the discussion around the new regulation proposed by the European Commission. Dana Spinant, the head of the Drug Unit gave us a presentation on the EC proposal that aims to bring new substances under control quicker in order to remove them from the market and thus reduce the harms of their use. The European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) will be mandated to assess the risks of new psychoactive substances. If a substance is reported to pose immediate risk, the Commission can introduce temporary consumer market restrictions. The EMCDDA risk assessment has three possible outcomes. First, if the substance is proven to be low risk, there is no need for further EU action. Second, if it has moderate risks, permantent consumer market restrictions will be put in place. Third, if the assessment concludes that the substance poses severe risks, the production and distribution of the substance will be criminalized.

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