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Scotland Act 2012

Section 19: Misuse of drugs

65.This section amends provisions of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (‘MDA’) which relate to the circumstances in which a doctor may prescribe controlled drugs to a person who is addicted to certain drugs. Under section 10(2)(i) of the MDA, the Secretary of State may make regulations to prohibit a doctor from administering, supplying or authorising the administration or supply of certain controlled drugs to a person addicted to controlled drugs, except under and in accordance with a licence issued in pursuance of the regulations. This is known as an ‘addicts licence’. The current regulations made under this section are the Misuse of Drugs (Supply to Addicts) Regulations 1997 (S.I. 1997/1001).

66.Subsection (2) amends section 10(2)(i) of the MDA. The effect is to give Scottish Ministers the powers to issue addicts licences to doctors acting in Scotland. By virtue of the amendments to section 30 of the MDA in subsection (6), the Scottish Ministers may set terms and conditions in addicts licences and modify or revoke existing licences. The power to make the regulations will continue to be exercisable by the Secretary of State. It is anticipated that the existing Regulations will be amended separately to reflect the change being made by this section.

67.Section 13(1) of the MDA allows the Secretary of State to give a direction to any doctor who has contravened certain provisions of the MDA relating to drug addicts. A direction under section 13(1) prohibits the doctor from prescribing, administering or supplying or authorising the administration or supply of such controlled drugs as may be specified. Subsection (3) further amends the MDA so that the power of direction in section 13(1) is exercisable by the Scottish Ministers rather than the Secretary of State where the contravention in question relates to activities which require an addicts licence and took place in Scotland.

68.Section 14 of the MDA gives the Secretary of State the power to refer cases about directions under section 13 to a tribunal or advisory body constituted under Schedule 3 to the MDA. Subsections (4) and (5) provide that those powers are exercisable by the Scottish Ministers where the direction in question is one which would be made, by virtue of subsection (3), by the Scottish Ministers. Subsection (7) makes a consequential amendment about the procedure for making tribunal rules.

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