'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.


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