Deadly ‘legal high’ is banned

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Tynwald last week voted to ban a drug implicated in the death of a man from Ballasalla last year.

William James Ritchie, aged 45, died after taking alpha-Methyltryptamine (AMT), which was legal to use and was said to be used by his friends.

The inquest last November heard that a toxicology report said there was a ‘strong possibility’ that the concentration of the drug in his body could have been toxic.

The ban on AMT will come into force from July 1 for one year.

The banning order was put before Tynwald by the Minister for Health and Social Care, Howard Quayle MHK, following consultation with the Isle of Man’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).

Approval of the ‘Misuse of Drugs (Controlled Drug Specification) (AMT) Order 2014’ makes AMT a Class C drug under the Act.

Mr Quayle said: ‘AMT is not banned in the UK; any such ban in the UK would automatically come into force in the Isle of Man, however the ACMD recommended that it was time to act locally.

‘It is the department’s view that AMT is a substance which gives rise to a social problem in the island and should be banned to reduce the potential for another death and to give a clear message that the use of AMT as a drug is dangerous.

‘Legal highs continue to pose a problem due to their impact on personal health and wellbeing, and approving a ban helps to protect those most vulnerable in our community.’

The order will be effective for an initial 12 month period, after which a further order can be made, subject to Tynwald approval.

The side-effects of the drug include stomach cramps that can last for three days.

AMT is already a controlled drug in the USA and Germany.

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