A former “legal high” should be banned permanently as a class A substance, the Government’s official drug advisers have said, meaning dealers could face up to life in prison.
NBOMe was subjected to a temporary ban in June, making it illegal for at least 12 months, while further evidence on its impact was gathered.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has recommended that compounds of the drug, seen as an alternative to the hallucinogen LSD, are controlled as class A substances – the most serious category with possession punishable by a jail term of up to seven years.
In addition, the ACMD has recommended that another former legal high subjected to a temporary ban, BenzoFury, once marketed as a legal form of ecstasy, is controlled as a class B substance.
NBOMe, known on the street as N-Bomb and Smiley Paper, is a popular club drug mainly bought over the internet.
Its effects, which can last six to 10 hours, include euphoria and feelings of love but also confusion, shaking, nausea, insomnia and paranoia, the ACMD said.
Surrey Police reported the death of an 18-year old man in February, which is thought to be related to NBOMe although this is awaiting confirmation, while Avon and Somerset Police have reported a death where a 22-year old man drowned after taking the drug.
The substance has also been implicated in several deaths in the US and Australia.