NPS and the Law

What are NPS?

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) are drugs that are designed to replicate the effects of illegal substances, such as cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy. People may refer to these drugs as “legals” or “legal highs”, but many of the substances contain illegal substances. These so called “legal highs” are formulated to be slightly different in some way in an attempt to evade the laws that control these substances.

What does the law say?

Laws differ between Jersey and the UK.

  • Many so called “legal highs” are now illegal in Jersey due to their known health risks, but may still be legal in the UK where laws take longer to change.
  • Buying and importing these illegal substances into Jersey is a criminal offence, even if they are still legal in the UK or elsewhere. This can lead to prosecution, even if you didn’t know they were illegal in Jersey.
  • Police and Customs actively seek intelligence on so called “legal highs” and the dealing of these substances.
  • Sometimes there are illegal substances in products that claim to be legal. Possession of these substances can also lead to prosecution.

In the UK, when a new so called “legal high” emerges, it cannot legally be advertised and sold for human consumption under medicines legislation. In an attempt to get around this, sellers often refer to these drugs as research chemicals, plant food or bath crystals.

In Jersey however, as we are a small island and able to respond rapidly, it can be quickly made completely illegal to import, sell or supply a new so called “legal high”, whether advertised for human consumption or otherwise.

Due to this ability to respond rapidly, many so called “legal highs” have been outlawed in Jersey ahead of the UK, where the process of addressing legislation is much slower.

So called “Legal Highs” have been linked with a number of deaths, including suicides, both in Jersey and the UK.


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