Northumbria Police chief backs move to outlaw ‘legal highs’

A collection of 'legal highs'.
A collection of 'legal highs'.
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Wearside’s crime commissioner has welcomed a Government ban on so-called legal highs.

The Queen’s Speech yesterday included a blanket ban to prohibit and disrupt the production, distribution, sale and supply of new psychoactive substances (NPSs).

Authorities will be given greater powers to stop newly-created legal highs spreading on the streets as well as tackling so-called “head shops” which sell the substances.

And that met with a favourable response from Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner who said: “I have made my feelings on these substances well known in the past and have previously called on the Home Secretary to deliver on her Government’s policy to tackle legal highs and take strong action against those who sell such products.

“I of course welcome the news that we will finally see a blanket ban on New Psychoactive Substances which are just as capable of having devastating effects on those who use them as class A drugs.

“We have seen cases in the North East and country-wide on how these drugs have impacted on people’s lives and their sale and consumption needs to be stopped.

“We know the problems involved with tackling those who make the substances as they change ingredients to get round the law. It’s only right police and trading standards are given the tools they need to confront those businesses and that those who deal in them are treat the same as dealers of class A drugs.

“Once we have the powers locally, I will ensure our officers do everything in their power to stop their sale and prevent people getting addicted to these substances.”

New legislation will make it an offence to produce, supply, import or export psychoactive substances.

with a maximum sentence of seven years.

Not so legal

Legal highs produce similar effects to illegal drugs but are not yet controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

They cannot be sold for human consumption and are openly marketed with this warning while others are sold as bath salts or plant food to get around the law.

Most fall into one of three categories: stimulants; sedatives or hallucinogens.