26/05/2016

Legal Highs Ban Comes Into Force Across The UK

A blanket ban on so-called legal highs has come into force in the UK, including Northern Ireland.

Dealers in the psychoactive substances will also face up to seven years in prison .

The blanket ban on the sale, supply, importation and exportation of the dangerous drugs will apply across the UK whenever they are intended for human consumption.

SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan said: "For too long, those involved in the production, distribution and sale of lethal highs have been allowed to wreak havoc with the lives of young people and their families through their toxic trade.

"The introduction of a tough new legislative framework means that those who peddle in this misery can no longer make small modifications to the chemical composition of psychoactive substances to escape the purview of existing bans. Blanket bans are always a measure of last resort but in these circumstances it is fully justified to safeguard the health and lives of so many young people.

"It is now imperative that we see robust enforcement of the new legislation."
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Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the Local Government Association's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: "Legal highs are a scourge on society and shatter lives. People using these intoxicating substances are putting their lives, and those of others, at risk by consuming these untested chemicals which can have devastating and unpredictable consequences, including death.

"From today 'legal highs' will be as illegal as drugs banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act that they tried to mimic. The new blanket ban on psychoactive substances should help to reduce anti-social behaviour linked to their use which has been harming communities and blighting town and city centres for residents and visitors for too long.

"Councils have made every effort to crack down on these substances and the unscrupulous traders selling them, which has seen so-called ‘head shops' closed down, intoxicating substances seized, on-the-spot fines issued and successful prosecutions.

"However, this work relied on laws designed for very different purposes, making it much harder for councils and the police to tackle the problem.

"Councils have long called for new powers to stop the sale of new psychoactive substances. This blanket ban emphasises the dangers these substances pose and anyone caught producing, distributing, selling or supplying them could now receive a prison sentence, which should serve as a strong deterrent."

(CD)

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