UK Government responds to proposed ban on 2-benzyl benzimidazole like opioid chemicals
The UK government agrees with a proposal by the ACMD to ban 2-benzyl benzimidazole variants as well has several named chemicals and run a consultation with academic, chemicals and pharma organisations on it impact.
Its again encouraging to see that a consultation will be held to try and avoid the problems that occurred in 2016 with the 3rd Generation synthetic cannabinoid amended. Scitegrity has already started to encode the wording into Controlled Substances Squared to allow a select group of our customers to pre-assess their chemical collections, alongside Scitegrity own database of over 100M structures. This will allow a quantitative assessment of the likely impacts as part of the consultation, when it is launched.
Scitegrity has previously reported on the ACMD report on 2-benzyl benzimidazole and piperidine benzimidazolone opioids.
The UK government has now issued a response to that report. Below are a summary of the governments responses to each of the ACMD’s recommendations;
The following compounds should be added to Class A of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, consistent with the classification of other potent opioids. As these materials have no medical use it is recommended that they should be placed in schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (as amended). Metonitazene, Protonitazene, Isotonitazene, Butonitazene, Flunitazene, Metodesnitazene (metazene), Etodesnitazene (etazene), N-Pyrrolidino-etonitazene (etonitazepyne), N-Piperidinyl-etonitazene (etonitazepipne), Brorphine
Government response - The government accepts this recommendation, with the addition of N-Desethylisotonitazene, included in the ACMD’s addendum advice to the report and will implement this when Parliamentary time allows.
The following compounds should be deleted from Schedule 2 and added to schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (as amended): Etonitazene, Clonitazene
Government response - The government accepts this recommendation and will implement this when Parliamentary time allows
The ACMD recommends that a consultation should be undertaken with stakeholders, including academia and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries on the introduction of a generic control on 2-benzyl benzimidazole variants, as new examples may be encountered and could present a serious risk of harm.
Following this consultation, materials covered by the generic should be added to Class A of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, consistent with the classification of other potent opioids. As these materials have no medical use it is recommended that they should be placed in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (as amended). The proposed wording for the generic for addition to the Misuse of Drugs Act is as follows:
Any compound structurally derived from 2-[(2-benzyl)-benzimidazol- 1-yl]ethanamine by modification in any of the following ways, that is to say: (i) By substitution at the nitrogen of the ethanamine to any extent by alkyl substituents containing up to three carbon atoms or alkenyl substituents containing up to three carbon atoms or by inclusion of the nitrogen atom (and no other atoms of the side chain) in a cyclic structure. (ii) By substitution in the phenyl ring of the benzyl system to any extent by alkyl containing up to four carbon atoms, trifluoromethyl, alkoxy containing up to four carbon atoms, trifluoromethoxy, acetyloxy, hydroxy, cyano, thioalkyl containing up to four carbon atoms, alkylsulphonyl containing up to four carbon atoms or halogen substituents. (iii) By substitution at the 5- or 6- positions of the benzimidazole system by nitro, acetyl, cyano, methoxy, trifluoromethyl or halogen substituents. (iv) By substitution at the benzylic carbon by a methyl group (v) By replacement of the benzylic carbon by a nitrogen, oxygen or sulphur atom These modifications are subject to a maximum molecular mass of any derived compound of 500 atomic mass units.
Government response - The government agrees with this recommendation and will seek to consult relevant interested parties, including academia and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The Home Office will update the ACMD on the results of this.
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