National legislative approaches


Member States have implemented a wide range of legislative responses to address the dynamics of the NPS market, particularly the rapid emergence of substances, attempts by manufacturers to circumvent legislation, the diversity of the problem and the lack of available data to enable a full evaluation of harm. This section of the Toolkit provides an overview of different legislative approaches to controlling synthetic drugs and explores the key considerations of each approach and how these may apply in various national contexts.

Some of the initial responses that were taken by countries involved the use of medicines legislation and/or consumer protection laws to control NPS. Others, given the particular characteristics of NPS and the rate of emergence in their specific country or region, established controls on NPS using their drug control legislation (individual listing of substances, generic and/or analogue controls), though with some modifications (temporary bans, rapid procedures, controls on NPS based on their effects). In some countries, it was considered that NPS needed to be tackled through new legislation specifically tailored to controlling NPS.

Sample scenarios - possible legal approaches

Legislative approaches by country

This interactive map displays the different legislative approaches that have been implemented by various countries.  Use the drop down menu to select a type of legislative approach or a specific country. If selecting an approach, the map will display all countries which have implemented that approach. Click on the map to see a list of the countries in a table to the right. If selecting a country, a table will be displayed to the right listing all types of legislation that have been implemented in that country. Please note it is only possible to select one type of legislation or one country per query. 
You can also click on the map to see the legislative approaches implemented in a particular country (please clear any previous queries first).

 ** This map was created by commercial software. The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.


Please also see the UNODC Early Warning Advisory (EWA) for an overview of the legal situation of NPS at the international level as well as the wide range of legislative measures and/or regulations that have been adopted so far at the regional and national level to respond to this challenge.