19 new psychoactive substances added to Narcotics List

Bern, 01.03.2018 - Consumers cannot assess the risks associated with new synthetic drugs. This fact has prompted the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) to add 19 substances to the Narcotics List as of 1 March. The ongoing process of adding raw materials or products with suspected narcotic-like effects is a measure to combat drug trafficking.

New psychoactive substances (NPS) are synthetic substances with actions similar to narcotics. They are also known as legal highs, designer drugs or research chemicals. The substances are marketed primarily as legal intoxicants because they have not so far been included in the Narcotics Lists.

The consumption of new psychoactive substances poses a health risk. Their interactions with other substances, toxicity if used repeatedly and potential for addiction are generally not known. Since they are structurally similar to substances that are already controlled, it can be assumed that they have potential for addiction or abuse. Cases in which some of the substances were abused as designer drugs have already been identified in Switzerland.

Since December 2011, 207 individual substances and nine groups (derivatives) have been added to the Narcotics List. This has enabled the authorities to effectively combat the distribution of new psychoactive substances on the black market. Updating of the Ordinance on narcotics lists takes place in coordination with international agencies and is also intended to prevent Switzerland from becoming a transshipment centre for the trade in designer drugs.

The annexes to the Ordinance on narcotics lists (BetmVV-EDI, SR 812.121.11) contain the lists of controlled substances. The FDHA adds raw materials and products that are suspected of having effects similar to narcotics to list e (Raw materials and products with suspected narcotic-like effects) at Swissmedic’s request.

Address for enquiries

Swissmedic, Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products
Monika Joos (head of Narcotics Division)
Phone +41 (0)58 464 91 87


General Secretariat FDHA