Call to follow Irish legal high law

Published: Saturday 13th September 2014 by The News Editor

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The UK Government should follow an Irish model of legislation in a bid to tackle legal highs, councils have said.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 400 councils, wants the UK to follow legislation introduced in Ireland four years ago that bans the sale of all “psychoactive” – or brain altering – drugs and then exempts some, such as alcohol and tobacco.

The Irish legislation has effectively eliminated all so-called headshops that sell legal highs, the LGA added.

Currently, when a legal high substance is outlawed, illegal-drug chemists are getting around the law by tweaking the chemical compound and creating a new legal high.

Councillor Ann Lucas, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities board, said: ” This is all about tackling the sellers.

“Legal high shops are becoming endemic to our high streets, which is why we are calling on the Government to introduce robust and vigorous new laws to tackle them. The sooner we put these so-called ‘headshops’ out of business for good, the better.”

“A key priority is educating and informing younger people about the dangers and risks of these drugs and councils play a pivotal role in this.”

Deaths from legal highs have more than doubled in the past four years from 26 in 2009 to 60 last year.

The synthetic psychoactive drugs, which usually have names like “Clockwork Orange”, “Bliss” and “Mary Jane”, have been directly linked to poisoning, emergency hospital admissions including in mental health services and, in some cases, deaths.

Councils spend about 30% – £830 million a year – of their entire public health budget on drug and alcohol misuse – more than any other service.

Published: Saturday 13th September 2014 by The News Editor

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