25/08/2009

'Legal Highs' Reclassified

Authorities are to clamp down on two so-called 'party drugs', giving them an illegal substance classification.

The Home Office is set to legislate against the use of BZP and GBL, which are touted to give users "legal highs", amid fears of an "emerging threat".

Both drugs have been linked to deaths, most recently to that of 21-year-old medical student Hester Stewart, who had taken GBL.

BZP, also known as herbal ecstasy, and GBL will soon be certified as Class C drugs.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson also intends to introduce a ban on man-made cannabis substitute, known as cannabinoids, and sometimes referred to as Spice.

Cannabinoids, like BZP and GBL, can at the moment be bought legally over the internet.

However, the Government's drugs reform will see 'Spice' controlled as a Class B drug, alongside cannabis.

Mr Johnson said: "There is a perception that many of the so-called legal highs are harmless, however in some cases people can be ingesting dangerous industrial fluids or smoking chemicals that can be even more harmful than cannabis."

BZP and GBL would carry a prison term of up to two years for possession and 14 years for dealing.

GBL is used as a substitute for the "date rape" drug GHB, which is already outlawed.

The Home Office said industrial solvent GBL can cause serious heart problems, vomiting, anxiety attacks, mood swings and seizures. BZP has been linked to similar conditions.

DrugScope's Martin Barnes said the Government must do much more than just outlaw dangerous substances. Mr Barnes stressed the importance of education.

"It is important that public information and education campaigns are comprehensive and ongoing," he said.

(PR/BMcC)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 August 2015
Joint British And French Command Centre To Be Set Up In Calais
A joint British and French command centre is to be established in Calais in an effort to tackle the ongoing migrant crisis. A senior British and French police officer will lead the centre, with each reporting to their own government.
28 July 2009
ACMD To Give Advice On 'Legal Highs'
The increasing availability and potential harm of 'legal highs’'are one of the key priorities of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) as set out in their annual report published today. The report also looks at the work of the council between April 2008 and March 2009.
24 June 2009
'Party Drug' Victim's Mother To Meet Home Secretary
The mother of a student who died after taking the 'party drug' GBL is to meet today with Home Secretary Alan Johnson as part of her campaign to get the substance banned.
02 February 2010
'Drug Dealer' Convicted Of Attempted Murder
A man has been convicted of attempted murder at The Old Bailey over an "insignificant" drug debt. Desmond Meade, 25, of Crondall Court, St John's Estate, be sentenced for attempting to kill his 44-year-old victim, and for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, on 26 February.
29 May 2015
23 Charged With Drug Offences Following Raids
More than 20 people have been charged with drug offences following a number of raids carried out in London, Gravesend, Dover and Deal. A total of 23 people were arrested during twenty raids carried out over three days. The suspects, ranging in age from 17 to 52, have all been charged in connection with the supply of class A drugs.