To combat the abuse of novel synthetic substances as narcotics, the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) has prohibited a further 11 individual substances. On the supplementing of the relevant ordinance effective March 31, 2023, these new psychoactive substances will be equivalent to narcotics: manufacture and trade will be illegal and subject to penalties under the Narcotics Act.
“Designer drugs” is a collective term for various new psychoactive substances with different effects that are repeatedly modified in laboratories to evade legal restrictions. These drugs, which are also known as “research chemicals” or “legal highs” are a major health risk: it is not known how they act in conjunction with other substances, whether they are addictive – and if so, how addictive they are – or how toxic they are when taken repeatedly. Since they are structurally similar to controlled substances, it must be assumed that consumption is harmful.
The spread of designer drugs on the black market and the consumption of substances that are potentially harmful to health is being effectively combated with the inclusion to date of 276 individual substances and 15 substance groups (derivatives) with suspected narcotic-like effects in the Narcotics List.
The Narcotics List has been updated at the request of Swissmedic, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products. Together with other national and international authorities, Swissmedic evaluates on an ongoing basis whether new synthetic substances or substance classes are being abused. Inclusion in the list of raw materials and products with suspected narcotic-like effects should also prevent Switzerland becoming a transshipment centre for the trade in designer drugs.