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Psilocybin: Health Hazards

Question for Home Office

UIN 2168, tabled on 17 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Government's response to the Health and Social Care Committee’s First Report of Session 2019, on Drugs policy, HC 1178, what scientific and medical analysis showed the Class A, Schedule 1 drug psilocybin to be harmful to human health; on what dates that analysis was (a) commissioned and (b) published; and who conducted that analysis.

Answered on

20 May 2021

The Government has not commissioned or published any recent analysis of the harms of psilocybin. Psilocybin, as an “ester of psilocin”, is controlled as a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and is placed in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. Psilocin is also subject to the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, to which the United Kingdom is signatory.

We have no plans to move responsibility for drugs from the Home Office to the Department of Health and Social Care. Both departments have an important role to play in tackling the current issues around drug misuse.

This Government takes a balanced approach which brings together policing, health, community and global partners to tackle the illicit drug trade, protect the most vulnerable and help those with a drug dependency to recover and turn their lives around.

We have recently announced a £148million package aimed at dismantling the organised criminal gangs who encourage this terrible trade, helping those in drug treatment and recovery to stop drug-related crime, and dealing with the significant health-related harms drugs pose.

We know there is more to do which is why the Government commissioned a major independent review, led by Dame Carol Black, to inform the Government’s thinking on what more can be done to tackle the harm that drugs cause. Part One of Dame Carol Black’s review of drugs was published on 27 February 2020 at the Government’s UK Drugs Summit in Glasgow. It provides a detailed analysis of the challenges posed by drug supply and demand, including the ways in which drugs fuel serious violence. It is available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-drugs-phase-one-report.

Part Two of Dame Carol Black’s Review of Drugs was announced at the Drugs Summit and is focusing on prevention, treatment services and recovery. The final report will be made available to Ministers later this year. The Review findings will feed into wider Government work to tackle the serious harms caused by substance misuse.

Answered by

Home Office
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