This review paper is based on a talk given at the British Pharmaceutical Society Winter Meeting in 2018 derived from the Home Office Report on the workings of the UK Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) published in November 2018. The review deals with the context in which the PSA 2016 arose and how this piece of legislation differs from other UK drug regulations. It attempts to put the PSA in context with other control schemes being instituted around the world and to assess the success of the Act in its first 2 years of implementation. For more details the reader is referred to Review of the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, Home Office, November 2018. © 2019 The British Pharmacological Society.