Ministers are set to publish draft laws on a new ‘blanket ban’ on legal highs. The move is said to be a landmark in prohibiting the substances’ production, distribution, sale and supply and will see anyone found guilty of such acts facing a prison sentence of up to seven years.
The government’s proposals would apply throughout the UK and would include powers to seize and destroy legal highs as well as to search people, their premises and vehicles.
The new Psychoactive Substances Bill will apply to any substance that is intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect. Alcohol, tobacco and caffeine will be excluded as will certain exemptions for food and medical products.
Despite the fact that they are legal, these highs are notoriously unsafe and have been linked to a number of deaths and produce similar effects to illegal substances such as cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy. One of the main reasons there has been such a push for the ban is because Ministers have pointed out that young people who take them are ‘taking exceptional risks with their health’.
It is also hoped that the laws will help to end the ongoing struggle whereby new drugs are appearing on the market quicker than the government can identify and ban them. Home Office Minister, Mike Penning commented:
“The blanket ban will give police and other law enforcement agencies greater powers to tackle the reckless trade in psychoactive substances, instead of having to take a substance-by-substance approach.”
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