Crackdown on ‘legal highs’

Legal highs
Legal highs

New laws to help prevent harm caused by psychoactive substances – often referred to as “legal highs” – will come into force tomorrow.

The Psychoactive Substances Act will provide a blanket ban on the production, supply and importation of new psychoactive substances.

It will fundamentally change the way the police tackle psychoactive substances and will make new drugs that appear on the market illegal quicker than ever before.

Det Chief Insp Graham Gallagher said: “Sadly we have seen too many people becoming seriously ill after taking legal highs. We are committed to reducing the harm caused by all drugs and welcome an educational and preventative approach in the policing of psychoactive substances. Often these substances contain illegal drugs and, when people buy them, they generally have little idea how potent the drug is so they do pose a real danger.

“I would encourage the public to let us know if they believe shops or establishments continue to supply psychoactive substances once the Act commences on May 26.”

Enforcement powers include prohibition notices, premises notices, prohibition orders and premises orders, which allow police or councils to require people to stop stocking, selling or supplying psychoactive substances. Officers will have powers to stop and search people, vehicles and vessels, enter and search premises with a warrant, and to seize and destroy psychoactive substances.

While the act does not criminalise simple possession, it will be an offence to possess them within custodial institutions, or anywhere with intent to supply them to another. It is also an offence to import them.