Legal highs seized from shops

Stock photo of legal highs
Stock photo of legal highs

WIGAN Council’s Trading Standards has seized a number of new psychoactive substances (NPS) more commonly known as legal highs from shops in Wigan Borough.

The products have been seized as it is thought they could pose a serious risk to health. NPS have not been tested meaning their effects can be unpredictable and dangerous. This would make them illegal under consumer safety regulations. They can also contain banned substances, making them highly illegal under drug control legislation.

On Thursday 3rd December, trading standards officers along with Greater Manchester Police visited three shops and seized approximately 2,400 packets of NPS under The General Product Safety Regulations 2005. These regulations require businesses to sell ‘safe’ products.

Wigan Trading Standards Officers had previously advised the so called “head shops” and one independent pound shop following concerns about the safety of a number of NPS they stocked and the lack of information provided to users about the risks associated with using them. The businesses did not heed such advice and continued to sell NPS.

Councillor Kevin Anderson, cabinet member for environment, said: “Such products are sold in shiny, colourful small packets, which have catchy names and they should not actually be known as ‘legal highs’. The term ‘legal highs’ strongly suggests they have been tested and they are safe, but this could not be further from the truth. These substances can have horrifying side effects resulting in sickness, seizures, very high blood pressure, racing heartbeat, anxiety, panic, confusion and paranoia.

“We have a responsibility to safeguard the residents of Wigan Borough, in particular young people and adults who could become addicted to using such substances. Wigan Council’s Trading Standards advice is very simple - consumers should stay well away from NPS as they could be extremely dangerous if they are used by the individual.”

NPS are smoked, swallowed and sometimes injected and often marketed as herbal incense and or research chemicals. NPS have been linked to a number of deaths throughout the UK. According to the latest figures from the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths, at least 68 people died after taking legal highs in 2012.

The new Psychoactive Substances Bill currently going through Parliament will prohibit and disrupt the production, distribution, sale and supply of new psychoactive substances (NPS) in the UK on the high street and on the internet. Under this proposed new legislation producers and suppliers could face a jail sentence and or a fine.

Wigan Council’s Trading Standards would like to warn other potential sellers of NPS that necessary enforcement action will be carried out if intelligence is received that other individuals based in the borough are found to be selling NPS.

Report anyone who they know is selling NPS to trading standards by contacting Citizens’ Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.