HC Deb 22 June 1964 vol 697 cc187-8

11.15 p.m.

Mr. Woodhouse

I beg to move, in page 8, line 8, after "ephedrine", to insert "N-ethylephedrine".

Perhaps it would be convenient, Mr. Speaker, to discuss at the same time the following two Amendments in the name of my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Speaker

No doubt that would be convenient.

Mr. Woodhouse

These are Amendments to create the exceptions to the list of substances in the Schedule and they therefore have the effect of removing substances from it. I make this point in relation to the remarks of the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) just now. They will, of course, in future circumstances, be subject to the negative and not the affirmative Resolution procedure.

The Amendments arise because of consultations with the pharmaceutical industry, in the course of which various suggestions were made to the Home Office for the exclusion of preparations containing amphetamine-like substances which had no harmful effects. Five substances are already listed at the end of paragraph 3 of the Schedule which come within the scope of the first part of that paragraph, but which are accepted as not having harmful effects. As a result of the consultations, it is now proposed to make exceptions of the three further substances whose names I will not attempt to recite, but which are equally free from harmful effect.

Mr. Cole

I protested in Standing Committee that this is now becoming quite ridiculous. One of these substances has the name tropic acid N-ethyl-N-(γ-picolyl) amide. This is not a technical Bill for the entertainment of chemists, but to stop a noxious trade. Surely there is a method by which the proprietary names of these substances can be put into the Schedule as a guide to the average constable about what are the recognisable features of these tablets. Is it really expected that the average constable will go around with a piece of paper, printed by the police force, on which there will be these various names which are quite unpronounceable and un-understandable even by many chemists.

I know that these things have to be specified, but surely it should have been possible, even with all this rigmarole, to have put the proprietary names afterwards. We all know that "purple hearts" are drinamyl and there are similar names for the other tablets. I ask for a simple method to be found by which people outside the House can know what we are discussing when we speak of these things, let alone the police constable who may have to deal with them.

We are very fussy about how and when a constable shall make an arrest, but then we have this double-Dutch that only, a comparatively few qualified chemists can understand. I make no apology for making this protest again, even at this late hour. By all means let us use these names for identification, but let us also have the proprietary names in as well.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 8, line 8, at end insert, "oxethazaine".

In line 9, leave out "and prenylamine" and insert: , prenylamine and tropic arid N-ethyl-N-(γ-picolyl) amide".—[Mr. Woodhouse.]

Bill read the Third time and passed.